How much should Real Madrid try to pay for Cristiano Ronaldo?

Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo credit should read DANI POZO/AFP via Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo credit should read DANI POZO/AFP via Getty Images) /

Real Madrid could reunite with superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo this summer. Yes, it could really happen.

Although Juventus have made it clear that they want to keep Ronaldo and see him as central to their project, the Portuguese attacker may see things differently. He may want to return to Real, and many fans believe it was a mistake for both parties to part ways. Even team captain Sergio Ramos stated his agreement with this sentiment. 

Real’s attack has not been the same without Ronaldo. Karim Benzema has been carrying the team from a scoring perspective. The French striker has 15 goals in the 2020-2021 La Liga season thus far, and defensive midfielder Casemiro is the only other player with at least five. So the goal-scoring need in Madrid is quite clear. Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe are the best options for the future, but Real wouldn’t say no to Ronaldo at the right price. Even Zinedine Zidane is leaving the door open for the 36-year-old.

Let’s say Ronaldo is interested in joining Real Madrid, as Maun Sainz of AS recently reported. How much should Los Blancos be willing to pay to Juventus in a transfer fee? What would it take to get a deal done?

Juventus are under no obligation to sell Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid, unless the player makes it clear he wants out

First, let’s talk salary. Ronaldo currently makes 31 million euros at Juve, where he is taxed less due to Serie A’s tax-friendly policy enacted to attract stars from other countries to the league. Conceivably, Ronaldo would be willing to make less at Real if he truly wants to move, and he could increase his earnings via leveraging other aspects of a blockbuster transfer back to Madrid. But Ronaldo would still cost a lot in wages, no doubt. It’s hard to see him being too friendly to Real.

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Now, let’s talk about the main issue, which is the price sent to Juve. The Bianconeri are under no obligation to sell Ronaldo. They still have him under contract for one more year, and they’d only consider moving him if Ronaldo refused to continue playing in Turin. And there is currently no reason to believe he is unhappy with the Juventus project, other than rumor and speculation. Only Ronaldo knows how much his heart still lies in Madrid.

So it make take Real some convincing to obtain Ronaldo, whose transfer value takes some guesswork. Transfermarkt says Ronaldo is worth 60 million euros. He has one year left on his deal, so some may argue that a 36-year-old player should cost less than that with one year left on his deal.

But one year of Ronaldo is probably worth more to Juventus than most cash offers. Selling Ronaldo would clear 90 million euros in total, which could be useful in signing the midfielders Juve need. But then, it would create a much bigger need, since Ronaldo has been carrying their own goal-scoring as their best player.

As for Real Madrid, 60 million euros is a lot of money in a pandemic, but they are already preparing to pay upwards of 100 million euros for a forward. Those forwards, Haaland and Mbappe, can help the team for a decade, though. Ronaldo is a short-term solution who would help the team win a Champions League within the next two years. He could play for longer than that, but projecting too much from him is a risk.

Real Madrid cannot risk signing Cristiano Ronaldo if it means no Mbappe or Haaland

Ronaldo is, therefore, a risky addition due to cost and the fear that paying him will cause the team to miss out on a long-term acquisition. And that’s a big reason why many fans are, despite their nostalgia and recognition of Ronaldo’s ability, unwilling to take the plunge. They don’t want Ronaldo to come at the expense of a star of the future.

So for Real Madrid, the key is to get a good deal so that they can sign Ronaldo and still leave the door open for Haaland or Mbappe. In order to do that, they need to save big on his transfer fee. But Juve won’t want to give any discounts, given his importance to them.

The only way they could be swayed into accepting a lower fee is if Ronaldo no longer believes in the project and desperately wants back in Madrid. Then and only then, can Real sign Ronaldo without breaking the bank and missing out on a young star. For Real, they should avoid paying anywhere near 60 million euros.

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If they can get a discount and pay no more than 30-40 million, that might be the right deal. And even then, that’s still a lot of money to commit, considering Ronaldo’s salary. It’s hard to see Juve going that low, but if he has one year left on his deal and he wants out, Real and Ronaldo would have all the leverage to make it happen. At the end of the day, Real have to hope for this, because they cannot afford to mortgage their future project on one veteran player. They already have enough money still tied up in Gareth Bale, as it is.

I don’t see it happening, which is why I am not optimistic about a reunion, but you never know. Nobody wants to rule it out, because the decision is up to the player. He holds all the cards, no matter what anyone else says.