CRISTIANO Ronaldo will not see out his contract with Real Madrid, and will be sold in the next two years, it is reported in a Spanish newspaper on Friday.
According to Sport, based in Barcelona, Real president Florentino Perez remains unconvinced about Ronaldo’s long-term future and may well have already decided that the Portugal international will not see out his career in the Bernabeu.
Sport claims that if he is not sold this summer, then Ronaldo could leave in 12 months’ time. It is a bold claim given Ronaldo has won two successive Ballon d’Ors and is scoring goals at a historic rate, with 291 in 282 games for Madrid.
His current contract runs until 2018, but Sport cites three reasons why, in the paper’s own words, he may already have been ‘sentenced’ by Perez and will not wind down his career at the Bernabeu.
1. Age: Now Ronaldo is 30, Madrid are reported to believe that he has passed his prime and that his contribution will start to diminish year on year.
2. Injury: According to Sport, Perez has been told by sources close to the dressing room that Ronaldo has been playing a lot of matches through the pain barrier and that fitness problems will increasingly come to bite.
3. Economics: Currently, Ronaldo has a huge resale value and could command an astronomical transfer fee, but as his contract approaches its end, and Ronaldo grows ever older, his market value will start to depreciate.
Of course, if Madrid did decide to sell Ronaldo, they would have to find a replacement – a potentially pricey endeavour.
But Sport suggests Perez is convinced Gareth Bale can step into Ronaldo’s shoes, both as a goalscorer and commercial enterprise.
So despite suggestions to the contrary, in the words of Sport, “Bale is not for sale.”