Well well well. It didn’t turn out as he had hoped, did it?
What was supposed to be a heartwarming and glorious homecoming to Manchester United has instead spiraled into disastrous controversy and a contract termination for Cristiano Ronaldo.
While he may be bang on in the middle of a World Cup campaign with Portugal, the question still needs to be asked: who could he join next? Well, we at 90min have weighed up some options.
Back on the cards? Hmmm, probably not.
Cristiano Ronaldo was the first player to play for Sporting CP’s U16, U18, U19, U21, B team and senior team in one season. pic.twitter.com/lwg7eA9ybl
— TCR. (@TeamCRonaldo) June 6, 2019
When one fairy tale goes down the pan, why not try another?
A proper return to Ronaldo’s first club would be healthy and would probably suit both parties for footballing reasons; the Portuguese icon would undoubtedly take a starring role for his boyhood club and could continue at the same level of European competition, while Sporting would, well, get Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, economics may dictate that this particular measure would be unlikely.
Financial worries are a thing of the past for Newcastle United, who are absolutely rolling in cash.
They could easily shoulder the monetary burden of Ronaldo’s salary while his arrival would further boost the Magpies’ global status.
While they are flying high in the Premier League at the moment, however, would 37-year-old Ronaldo end up in a side outside Europe’s elite competition at this very moment? That definitely remains to be seen.
European football is of course only an option.
Major League Soccer, often dismissively referred to as the retirement home for the world class, is a realistic consideration for Ronaldo, who has previously been linked with a move to David Beckham’s Inter Miami.
Guaranteed football and a beautiful lifestyle doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
Cristiano Ronaldo scored against Chelsea the last time he faced them / Michael Steele/GettyImages
Even so, Ronaldo is not the type of person to wind down before his time comes. He will feel he has a lot more to give and will want to get back to his best on an elite stage.
A move to Champions League rivals Chelsea would give him the opportunity to do just that; Whether the Blues are keen to bring him in in January is another matter, however.
A move back to Serie A has also been mooted as a potential route for the former Juventus man.
There will undoubtedly be some sides with their arms wide open this winter, although Napoli probably represent one of the most realistic destinations.
And, it has to be said, going into a Gli Azzurri side fighting for the Scudetto and even boasting a bulldozing campaign on the Champions League front so far, it wouldn’t be the worst marriage.
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored nine goals in eight Champions League games against Bayern Munich/Etsuo Hara/GettyImages
A debut in the Bundesliga could also come for one of the game’s greatest.
German giants Bayern Munich have been labeled as a potential suitor for Ronaldo and with Robert Lewandowski’s enigmatic presence at Bayern yet to be quite replaced, you can understand why.
The prospect of playing for another of the world’s biggest clubs and the creative genius found throughout the Bayern squad must be a very exciting draw for the Portuguese striker.