Is Cristiano Ronaldo coming back to Real Madrid?

Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

With the summer window approaching, the rumour-mill is in overdrive, the papers are being printed by the truckload. The sensationalist headlines are flowing and the news anchors are firing off ‘OJO’ by the hour.

Amongst the rubble of rumours? Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese superstar is being linked with a return to the Bernabéu, following a disappointing Champions League exit with Juventus. Could it happen? Should it happen? Questions are being asked – can Real Madrid afford him? Where does he fit in?

There is no doubt that Ronaldo is still very much an elite player. His output at the age of 36 has been nothing short of incredible. However, Ronaldo’s return to Real doesn’t hinge simply on his level or the club wanting him back.

In fact, Real’s situation financially is far more feeble than many realise. Whilst they are a huge institution in the footballing world, the impact of Coronavirus has been felt alongside other implications.

Juventus, Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo by Isabella BONOTTO / AFP) (Photo by ISABELLA BONOTTO/AFP via Getty Images)
Juventus, Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo by Isabella BONOTTO / AFP) (Photo by ISABELLA BONOTTO/AFP via Getty Images) /

Real Madrid may not be able to afford Cristiano Ronaldo’s wages

As a result of the virus, Real are making €300m less than expected this season, whilst also experiencing a €91m loss – keeping in mind they broke even in 19/20. Even with players taking salary cuts, Real have lost masses of money in the stadium also being closed, losing revenue.

The club are also in the midst of the stadium renovation, which has cost €575m – being paid back over the course of 26 years, beginning in 2023.

With the financial burdens being taken into account, Real’s market plans are surely weakened considerably. Something which poses the question of feasibility about signing Ronaldo. Whilst Juve have reportedly set a low fee, Ronaldo’s wages are astronomical.

Juventus, Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP) (Photo by ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images)
Juventus, Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP) (Photo by ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images) /

The former Real Madrid man is earning an eye-watering €31m at Juventus in salary. For context, that’s €10m more than Real’s current highest earner, Eden Hazard. Given that Real are already trying to encourage their stars like Sergio Ramos to consider the current state during contract renewals.

Real’s financial position alone makes this seemingly unlikely given the burden his salary could place on them. Unless Ronaldo is willing to take a significant wage cut, which was reported, then it is hard to imagine Real making this happen with their plans for Haaland and Mbappé too.

Outside of the financial elements, on the pitch, does the move make sense? As mentioned previously – Ronaldo is still atop the footballing world. He certainly does not lack in quality, but nothing lasts forever.

Ronaldo wrote a chapter at Real Madrid that is etched so deeply, it deserves its own book. Although, realistically, how much of Real wanting him back is simply down to nostalgia? It would be a supremely short-sighted move and one, which on that basis doesn’t make sense.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) / ALTERNATIVE CROP (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images) /

Does Cristiano Ronaldo fit into Real Madrid’s youth movement?

Sure, he could come in and bring the goals Real have lacked since he departed. In doing so, what happens to Karim Benzema? The Frenchman would have to return to being second fiddle. How do you fit Eden Hazard into the equation? What happens to some of the youngsters?

The impact of Ronaldo is huge but it comes with permutations that make the value of it all diminish. Real are already in the middle of a transition in regards to their aging stars. Modric and Ramos are both deep into their 30s, Marcelo is no longer the cornerstone he was.

Real need to continue to develop their ethos of looking forwards, as great as Ronaldo was, is, and continues to be, it is better to keep this chapter closed. Given the financial burden and potential on the field burden, this move would ultimately act as a short-term fix with longer-term problems.

What will Madrid do when they want to move onto Mbappé or Haaland? Where does Cristiano fit in then? More importantly, everyone knows the kind of player that Ronaldo is. Once he does begin to decline, which is inevitable, how will you deal with benching him because his level is not what it once was?

Ultimately, it is natural for Real fans to clamour for the man who took them to the summit. Especially given the lows that occurred in his absence. It’s the dream scenario, the once white knight returning to the kingdom he held high to return it to the glories of yesteryear. But this is reality and some truth needs to be accepted – Ronaldo’s return brings more problems than it solves.

Next. Ranking Cristiano Ronaldo's best goals for Real Madrid. dark

Not only that, but Cristiano’s Real story ended on the perfect high, a final won, a trophy delivered. He walked out of Real Madrid a hero, an all-time great – perhaps the all-time greatest. The ugly ending with Pérez aside, why put a potential risk on tainting that legacy?