Cristiano Ronaldo has a serious lack of transfer options in January – even if made a free agent by Manchester United – after a trusted reporter outlined the only legitimate move he can hope to make.
The veteran Portuguese star has well and truly burned his bridges at Man Utd after tearing into the club in a no-holds-barred interview. In discussion with Piers Morgan, Ronaldo has torn strips of Eric ten Hag, the Glazers and United as a whole. Even Gary Neville and Wayne Rooney have been on the receiving end of Ronaldo’s poisonous tongue.
As such, United are already drawing up plans for life after their once talismanic frontman. To that end, a number of exciting options have been mentioned as targets. Kylian Mbappe and Victor Osimhen are two of the more ambitious names to be linked in recent days. And Tuesday’s Euro Paper Talk mooted the possible signing of a cut-price Brazil striker too.
Either way, United and Ronaldo very much seem set for a parting of ways. But where the 37-year-old star next rocks up remains something shrouded in mystery.
Indeed, a string of top-level suitors continue to distance themselves from his possible signature. To that end, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Napoli all look likely to pass up on the chance to sign him.
And even though United could terminate his contract and make him available on a free, there are very few options out there for him.
Now, Sky Sports reporter Melissa Reddy has taken a look at his possible next destination.
And, backing up our exclusive on November 3 revealing a move to Sporting Lisbon could occur, Reddy has had her say.
Options limited for next Cristiano Ronaldo club
“Chelsea wanted him, Thomas Tuchel pushed against it, and Graham Potter doesn’t want to be dealing with the Ronaldo sideshow like United are,” she told Sky Sports.
“Then there’s Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, all these clubs who have ruled themselves out of the running. Napoli have categorically stated they won’t be making a move in January for Ronaldo or any other big player.
“They are happy with their form and how they see their future progressing. They’re one of the most entertaining teams to watch in Europe at the moment. It’s a no-go for them. It seems like he’s got a fairly limited pool of options.
“Perhaps he feels that will change if he’s a free agent. But I can’t see how much the very top clubs, who believe they can win the Champions League, can see him making a pivotal difference in a positive way to achieve that.
“Sporting are the ones who have romanticised about the idea of Ronaldo’s return. They’ve spoken about how it would be a dream for him to come back. And the only barrier is the financial implications of his return.
“Even taking a huge pay cut would be difficult to make the numbers work. However, they know he would give them a commercial boost like no other player could. That could help to generate the funds to afford his move. That seems like the only realistic option for him.”
Antonio Cassano tears into ‘problem’ player Ronaldo
Wherever he ends up, former Italy striker Antonio Cassano – himself no stranger to controversy during his playing days – has criticised the player for his behaviour.
And he feels that Ronaldo – who he says is three years past his best – can’t keep throwing tantrums.
“Now I say that Ronaldo does not have the courage to admit that for three years he is no longer himself,” he told Bobo TV.
“This year he had to go to Sporting Lisbon and then quit after the World Cup. He’s a problem for the coaches, he puts his teammates in trouble. He didn’t even call Benzema to congratulate him.
“He has a blindfold in front of his eyes and thinks he can play until he’s 50. Dear Ronaldo, I tell you one thing: finish big with the World Cup.
“He can’t keep throwing tantrums and he can’t think he can still play at a high level. He has such a disproportionate ego, but he is not like [Lionel] Messi who can also play sitting down.
“He can’t physically cope anymore. He is confirming that he always puts his selfishness first.”