Cristiano Ronaldo missed out to Leo Messi on Monday in the Ballon d’Or with the Barcelona man winning the prize for the fifth time in his career.
Since then, Ronaldo has said he wants to keep on winning trophies, scoring goals and will be back stronger than ever next year.
But the Real Madrid man turns 31 next month. There’s clearly a lot of time left in the game for him but can he really improve? And with rumours of a move to PSG or the MLS, what does the future hold for the Portuguese superstar?
Realmadridnews.com takes a look at some of his options.
1 – Stay at Real Madrid.
Ronaldo still has two years to run on his current deal at the Santiago Bernabeu and there are no signs the club will look to sell him. Given that he is Real’s all-time leading goalscorer, it would be highly unlikely Los Blancos would consider selling him, even though they know that this summer is probably the last chance they can command a huge fee for him. More likely is that he will be allowed to set his departure on his terms much like Raul did when he left.
Los Blancos are more likely than not to pick up silverware in the next two years so staying at the club will mean more trophies to add to his cabinet, and who knows, a return to pick up the Ballon d’Or again?
One thing to Ronaldo should consider though is the emergence of Gareth Bale. The Welshman is five years younger and looks set all but set to take Ronaldo’s place as the top man at Real Madrid. He netted four against Rayo and followed that up with a hat trick at the weekend against Deportivo La Coruña. Ronaldo may need to get used to not being the central figure much longer.
2 – Move to PSG
Ronaldo has one last big move in him – and if he wants it, this summer would be the best time. All the signs suggest that if he does leave the Santiago Bernabeu, Paris would be his new destination.
The striker has hinted in the past about a move to the French capital. When asked about which city he prefers between Madrid and Paris recently, Ronaldo opted for the Spanish capital. But he said his opinions could change in the future. The Portugal captain is also close to PSG boss Laurent Blanc and the club’s owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi.
Moreover, the club could be on the lookout for a new superstar to lead their attack in the summer. Zlatan Ibrahimovic isn’t getting any young at 34 is he?
3 – Return to Manchester United
Ronaldo is still adored by the United faithful and has made no secret of his love for the club. He was a key part of the United side that won three Premier League titles and a Champions League trophy in his six years at Old Trafford and would be welcome back with open arms.
But things are different at the club now. Gone is Sir Alex Ferguson and gone too, for now anyway, is the Manchester United that playing brilliant, attacking football. A host of world class players have left and the current crop aren’t quite up to scratch.
It’s uncertain whether Louis van Gaal will be in charge come next season and Ronaldo may not want to taint his reputation there by going back and not living up to his past.
4 – Move to the MLS
He loves the US as a holiday destination to get away from the attention from European fans and it’s not hard to imagine moving Stateside to end his career. This summer is probably too soon for it to happen but we wouldn’t be surprised if in a couple of years Ronaldo follows in the footsteps of David Beckham, Kaka and Raul in ending his career in the MLS.