After two seasons with Juventus, Portuguese international attacker Cristiano Ronaldo is looking towards the end of what has been a stunning career. A multiple trophy winner with Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United and Real Madrid, CR7 made a surprising switch to Turin in 2018 and since then, the player has added to his growing list of honours.
Football fans across the world must hope that Ronaldo has more years left to play at the very summit of the game but at the age of 35, there is inevitable speculation about his future.
When Ronaldo signed with Juventus, the club were dominating the Italian top flight and at the end of his first season in Turin, The ‘Old Lady’ had won its eighth consecutive divisional title. There’s little doubt that Serie A betting markets will list Juve as clear favourites for the 2021 season and beyond but will Cristiano Ronaldo be at the club to help them out?
According to the man himself, there is no doubt that he will wear the iconic black-and-while strip next season. After two years in Turin, there were suggestions of a switch and one last challenge but Ronaldo has spoken and it seems he’s staying put.
One suggested link for the veteran Portuguese involved a possible return to Manchester United. Ronaldo spent six years at Old Trafford and during that time he helped the club to three Premier League titles and a Champions League triumph. After an uncertain start to life in the managerial hot seat, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has turned things around, partly due to the arrival of Ronaldo’s compatriot Bruno Fernandes.
The return of a Manchester United great would surely make the club contenders for major honours again but as far as the player is concerned, the deal is a non-starter. Ronaldo signed a four-year contract when he joined Juventus in 2018 and that would take him to the end of the 2021/22 season. Despite United’s interest, reports claim that the player intends to see that contract out.
Assuming those reports are correct, Cristiano Ronaldo would be 37 by the time that his existing deal with Juventus runs down. At that advanced stage of his career, would it be logical to hang up his boots or would CR7 have one last challenge left?
It’s impossible to answer that question definitively but we can look at some parallels. Over in the United States, Zlatan Ibrahimovic played in MLS for LA Galaxy at the age of 38 and the Swede maintained a potent scoring record during his time in Los Angeles. Prior to Zlatan, Spain’s David Villa played beyond his mid-30s with New York City FC before moving on having notched 80 goals in 126 matches.
It’s clear that the greats of the game can keep playing longer than most, assuming that they want to. In two years’ time, we may be discussing the future of Cristiano Ronaldo once again but for now, he’s set to see out his current Juventus contract.