Cristiano Ronaldo – What his future holds

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Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most pre-eminent players of all time, and it’s no accident he has become one of the leading lights in the game. His strict training regime, as well as his single-mindedness to be the best has elevated him above his rivals.

His ongoing battle with Paris Saint-Germain star Lionel Messi to be crowned the best, has split fan opinion, but both have their own unique assets – Messi can dribble seamlessly, while Ronaldo is more of a threat in the air.

Ronaldo set himself on a path to greatness during his first spell at Manchester United where he developed rapidly under the tutelage of one of the most successful managers of all time in Sir Alex Ferguson. Under the Scot, Ronaldo enjoyed six glorious years at Old Trafford, where he claimed three Premier League titles, the Champions League, FA Cup, League Cup, and Club World Cup.

Real Madrid came calling in 2009, and this was where Ronaldo took things up a level or two. At the Bernabeu, the Portuguese superstar regularly took home the Ballon d’Or award, but he tore up the history books, and he netted an astonishing 451 goals in 438 competitive appearances. His trophy haul was rather impressive, as he collected four Champions League trophies. Ronaldo became the club’s all-time leading goalscorer, as well as the most prolific player in European Cup history, and he had a special relationship with Zinedine Zidane.

Juventus then knocked on the door in 2018, and two icons of European and world football came together when Ronaldo put pen to paper on a deal. Chants of “Siuu” used to reverberate around the Allianz Stadium whenever Ronaldo scored, and there was a new trademark celebration for the supporters to enjoy. Although the Champions League crown eluded him, Ronaldo claimed five trophies. Three years in Turin saw Ronaldo’s extraordinary goalscoring output continue, as he netted 101 times in 133 appearances.

Although he closed a chapter on his career in Serie A in July 2021, the pull of a return to Manchester United proved to be too strong. Ronaldo has always been seen as the prodigal son, and his homecoming is something that Red Devils have dreamed of for years, but they were never quite sure when this day would happen.

There have of course been plenty of highlights, and at the time of writing, Ronaldo has scored 14 goals in all competitions for United this season. A change in manager with the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hasn’t necessarily brought about a change in fortunes with Ralf Rangnick. As things stand, United are seventh in the Premier League, and they face a serious battle to finish in the top four. There had been rumours recently of a falling out between Ronaldo and Rangnick, and the 36-year-old was dropped from the matchday squad for the 1-0 FA Cup win over Aston Villa , although it later emerged he had an injury. However, it is hoped that Ronaldo will be passed fit to face Villa in the league this weekend. Many of the top bookmakers, including renowned NJ sports betting sites, such as BetMGM, have installed United as favourites to beat Villa, and bolster their chances of a top-four finish.

Realistically, United’s only chance of winning a trophy lies with the FA Cup this season. Ronaldo has come out in support of Rangnick recently, and while there has sometimes been an air of gloom and doom pervading Old Trafford, Ronaldo will be hoping the start of his second spell at United can end with a silver lining. His long-term future remains unclear, but perhaps the United board can convince him that he should stay put. The next few months will be fascinating for all those connected with United.

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