, автор: Быстрова А.

The Portuguese knight at a crossroads. The future of Cristiano Ronaldo

Next season he will either suffer a second failure or a rebirth. But which club he will choose?

Источник фото: Getty Images

The end of a playing career does not always turn out to be golden, no matter how great a player is. Cristiano Ronaldo has confirmed this in the last year. The 37-year-old Portuguese forward is now at a crossroads, and what his next career move will be will determine the note on which he begins his farewell to soccer.

At his age, many are already embarking on coaching careers or at least enjoying breaking regime on tropical beaches. Cristiano has many titles, a huge capital, and the main motivation he has is the pleasure of playing soccer. And that hasn't been the case lately.

Everything started out beautifully. The return from Real Madrid to Manchester United twelve years later looked like the return not of the prodigal son but of Alex Ferguson's golden child - it was under his watchful tutelage that the Portuguese became a world star. Ronaldo was received perfectly, he made a double in his first match, and the MU fans were waiting for the return of better times. But it did not happen. First of all, because the Manchester side are no longer led by the brilliant Sir Alex, but by lesser figures. Even with Cristiano at the helm, Manchester United stalled and failed to compete for any higher positions. At some point, Ronaldo, too, began to sour. As early as November, news emerged of his dissatisfaction with the team's results and his intention to leave it at the end of the season if he failed to qualify for the Champions League.

But he tried sincerely. So much so that the English players were less and less hiding their displeasure at the fact that the Portuguese and his companions are seeking to lead the locker room. In any case, neither Ronaldo's efforts nor the arrival of interim coach Ralf Rangnick - especially as there was rumored animosity between them - saved MU. The Manchester side finished sixth and failed to qualify for the Champions League.

Ronaldo made no secret of his intentions and asked MJ management to sell him - if there was a good offer, but he did not issue ultimatums and expressed his willingness, if anything, to stay with the team. However, the lack of decent transfers worried him more and more - another gray season loomed (and looms) ahead. Manchester City, in turn, did not want to sell Ronaldo. New head coach Eric ten Hague declared the Portuguese an important part of his plans and expects him to help make MU great again.

Cristiano doesn't seem to have much faith in that. Less than two weeks remain before the start of the season, and he has not had a single training session with the team, missed the Asian tour, practicing individually at home in Portugal. In general, this situation is an emergency for any team, no matter how stellar the player is. And, of course, this behavior demonstrates that Ronaldo does not want to stay at MJ.

However, there are not many options, despite the fact that the Portuguese is willing to shrink in salary for the sake of participation in the Champions League. A move to Atlético de Madrid looks the most likely: According to rumors, "the Mattress Makers" are ready to satisfy Ronaldo's appetite and are even willing to buy out Barcelona and sell Antoine Griezmann for that purpose. True, the fans are against it - too long Cristiano played for his bitter neighbor, Real Madrid. However, who would listen to the fans... True, the president of Atletico has said that a transfer is almost impossible, but even that could be just a diplomatic response and fogging.

Meanwhile, MU demanded Ronaldo to fly to England. According to unofficial reports, he arrived in Manchester on July 25 to discuss his future at the club. There are three options: either he will be revived at another club, or he and ten Hague will revive MU, or he will threaten another year. The choice that Portuguese knight makes at the crossroads will determine a lot not only in his career, but also in the future of soccer.