Cristiano Ronaldo faces an uncertain future at Manchester United following his controversial decision to criticise the club ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
The Portuguese international has sent shockwaves through Old Trafford, following his TV interview with Piers Morgan, as the 37-year-old slammed the club’s lack of ambition and openly claimed his lack of respect for head coach Erik ten Hag.
United will investigate the matter during the World Cup break with Ronaldo already joining up with Fernando Santos’ squad ahead of the trip to Qatar.
After an awkward exchange with United teammate Bruno Fernandes in Lisbon, Ronaldo’s situation looks increasingly difficult in Manchester, and United will try to offload him in the mid-season market if a deal can be reached.
MORE: Charting Ronaldo and Messi’s incredible journey to their final World Cup in Qatar
Where will Ronaldo be playing after the next transfer window? Odds for next club
Sporting Lisbon – Back where it all began?
Ronaldo burst onto the scene at his boyhood club, before joining United for the first time in 2003, and a return to Lisbon has a nostalgic angle.
Sporting head coach Ruben Amorim was immediately asked about a move, following Ronaldo’s outspoken interview, with a swift reiteration of Ronaldo still being under contract as a United player until June 2023.
A return makes sense in terms of protecting his status as an icon in Portuguese football – as he is still adored in Lisbon – but his overall goal of playing Champions League football would continue to elude him after they dropped out in the group stages.
A Lisbon comeback offers the least amount of baggage for Ronaldo, but it would contradict his main criticism of United, over Champions League football and being a major power in Europe.
𝐈𝐓 𝐀𝐋𝐋 𝐒𝐓𝐀𝐑𝐓𝐄𝐃 𝐇𝐄𝐑𝐄 🦁@Cristiano Ronaldo has now become the highest goalscorer in the history of football ⚽
— Sporting CP English (@SportingCP_en) March 12, 2022
Chelsea – Todd Boehly’s 2023 power play
Chelsea were linked with a dramatic swoop for Ronaldo ahead of the 2022-23 season following his summer stand-off with United.
The Blues hoped their trump card of Champions League football would tip a deal in their favour, but no firm talks emerged.
Chelsea owner Todd Boehly set a Premier League transfer window record of £271m ($321m) spent at Stamford Bridge, with Raheem Sterling, Wesley Fofana and Marc Cucurella all joining the club.
Former boss Thomas Tuchel was rumoured to be against a move, despite Boehly’s interest in a statement transfer for Ronaldo, and January talks would be a test of Graham Potter’s authority, with the former Brighton boss also not keen.
Should Chelsea still pursue a move for Cristiano Ronaldo? 😬 pic.twitter.com/SptjK0ismq
— Chelsea FC News (@Chelsea_FL) November 15, 2022
MLS – Is Ronaldo bound for the USA?
According to reports from the Manchester Evening News, three MLS sides have registered an interest in signing Ronaldo in January.
David Beckham’s Inter Miami, LA Galaxy and Los Angeles FC are considering moves with designated player (DP) rules currently permitting a transfer for him.
Ronaldo’s stance on preferring to remain in Europe is a key stumbling block as he wants to play at the highest level up to his 40th birthday.
A MLS contract offers the closest financial equivalent to his current United salary, but Ronaldo’s desire to protect his status, hints at delaying a move Stateside until a later date.
“He can’t handle the fact that he’s now a squad player at Man United.”
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 15, 2022
PSG – Messi and Ronaldo in Paris?
Paris Saint-Germain’s reputation for adding expensive weapons to their attacking arsenal shows no signs of slowing down at the Parc des Princes.
Kylian Mbappe opted to extend his contract in the French capital at the back end of 2021-22 with renewal talks ongoing with Ronaldo’s old foe Lionel Messi.
The pair have enjoyed the defining rivalry of world football across the last 15 years and the chances of them teaming up in Paris sounds like a fantasy football fever dream.
The Parisians could afford to bring Ronaldo into their superstar attack, with the added bonus of a Champions League last 16 spot in 2023, but Christophe Galtier will prioritise retaining Messi, over bringing in Ronaldo, if presented with the choice.