Making Piers Morgan’s dream come true by joining Arsenal, a Sporting Lisbon return, or one last big pay day in Saudi Arabia? What’s next for Cristiano Ronaldo after bombshell interview?
- Cristiano Ronaldo has taken part in an interview slamming Manchester United
- The forward said United have ‘betrayed’ him and widely criticised the club
- It is unlikely he will play for United again and may soon be looking for a new side
- Sportsmail have looked at the forward’s different options for his next destination
The Cristiano Ronaldo saga took undoubtedly its sharpest turn yet on Sunday evening when clips aired of an interview the Manchester United star held with Piers Morgan.
In a staggering attack, the forward took aim at his club side for ‘disrespecting’ him, and picked out Erik ten Hag, Ralf Rangnick and Wayne Rooney in particular as personnel to criticise.
It seems almost certain his United career is now over – how could he possibly play for them again? – but his career isn’t. He’ll head to the World Cup with Portugal this week, and will be on the hunt for a new club side as soon as he leaves the Middle East.
But where could he go? Could he possibly remain in Manchester, or even in the Premier League? Could a Champions League club take a gamble? Or is it time to pick up one final pay day before retirement?
Sportsmail have had a look at the possible next destinations for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Manchester United career seems to have come to an astonishing end
The forward launched an attack on the club in a breathtaking interview with Piers Morgan
Ronaldo said he feels ‘betrayed’ by the club and that he ‘does not respect’ Erik ten Hag
Ronaldo was linked with Chelsea in the summer transfer window as he did all he could to secure a move away from United, with new Blues owner Todd Boehly reportedly keen to bring the forward to London.
It’s believed then-manager Thomas Tuchel blocked the move, which only worsened his relationship with Boehly before his eventual sacking, but Tuchel isn’t around anymore.
It’s unclear how much of a say new boss Graham Potter will have on transfers, and Boehly’s own power may be more limited in January as he brings in more backroom staff in a restructure of the club.
But he has a business head, and the signing of Ronaldo would sell a few shirts.
The American could continue to do things his own way, or he could listen to the fans and the majority of the footballing world. It’s hard to predict, but if Ronaldo is to stay in England, Chelsea seems the most likely destination.
Graham Potter’s Chelsea could be a possible destination for Ronaldo in the January window
Blues owner Todd Boehly reportedly tried to sign the Portugal for ward during the summer
Ronaldo hasn’t really been linked to Arsenal – especially in recent times – but he does trust Piers Morgan.
Morgan carried out the bombshell interview, and is a well-renowned Arsenal fan. He has asked his side to sign the forward, claiming he is ‘exactly what they need’.
It’s extremely unlikely Mikel Arteta would take a chance on Ronaldo, especially with the harmony seemingly at an all-time high in his Gunners squad with the side top of the Premier League.
Arteta’s way of dealing with big personalities in his short managerial career so far has been to banish them from the club – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang springs to mind.
And it’s unlikely Ronaldo would oust Gabriel Jesus, of whom Arteta has been full of praise for, from the side. And we know Ronaldo doesn’t like sitting on the bench.
This move, unfortunately for Piers, seems almost impossible.
Piers Morgan urged Arsenal to sign Ronaldo following the airing of clips from the interview
It is however unlikely that Gunners boss Mikel Arteta would be willing to take the risk
Ronaldo has always had a love affair with Sporting, much like United in a way.
He graduated from their youth ranks and made a handful of appearances for the Portuguese side before moving to United the first time around and taking over the world.
Sporting couldn’t afford Ronaldo’s wages. There’s no doubt about that. But he will always be welcome with open arms, and they are a Champions League side, which Ronaldo so badly desires.
‘I’ve been asked this question a thousand times. Ronaldo is a Manchester United player’, said manager Ruben Amorim when asked about a possible return for Ronaldo.
‘Everyone at Sporting likes him, there’s not much to say. He himself says he wants to do things in peace to follow his future. He will decide his future.’
They may be his last shot at picking up a Champions League club, with any other side serious about progressing surely now unwilling to take a chance.
Ronaldo played for Sporting as a youngster before joining Manchester United the first time
Sporting boss Ruben Amorim refused to rule out a return for Ronaldo when asked recently
There have been no specific links between Ronaldo and the States, but MLS is always a possible destination for players at the back-end of their careers.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic did it, David Beckham did it, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Kaka – they all did it.
Lionel Messi has been linked with a surprise move to Inter Miami in the near future so it’s impossible to rule America out of the running for Ronaldo.
It may depend on how badly he still wants to play at the top level, because it’s unlikely there would be a way back if he were to go.
David Beckham, owner of Inter Miami, was one of many to move to the MLS late in their careers
If he’s really after one final pay day before retiring, Ronaldo could always look to Saudi Arabia.
It was widely reported in the summer that Saudi Professional League side Al-Hilal were interested in giving Ronaldo an escape route (and a big cheque) when he wanted out of United, but, to his credit, the forward appeared to turn down the opportunity.
He could earn big money and be the star of the team while doing so, as he likes to be. The problem would be that he would no longer be competing at the top level. Nowhere near it.
It’s also unlikely he’s want to dip out of the spotlight so early. So the move is definitely possible, but, again, unlikely.
Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal were reportedly interested in signing Ronaldo in the summer
He couldn’t, could he?
Is there possibly any way back for Ronaldo at Man United? Probably not, but he’s still got a contract.
United boss Erik ten Hag has repeatedly insisted Ronaldo is in his plans going forward, but that may have changed now.
He will always have the backing of a large section of the supporters, but many have now turned following the interview.
What if he can’t force a move in January, or convince the club to cancel his contract?
Time, as always, will tell.
Ronaldo said in the interview that he ‘does not respect’ current United manager Erik ten Hag
It’s unlikely he will ever play for Man United again, but is not out of the realms of possibility
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