Every time Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo hit some sort of rough patch the rumors about his impending departure start popping up. This time, talking about the MLS might be tagging to the current drama about the star’s feelings towards his own fans, but it’s not something that’s going happen this summer or even the next one.
Ronaldo is expensive. Very expensive. He is signed until 2018, so he doesn’t have the privilege or the leverage to pull off the antics that helped him sign the huge deal he did a while back. His current contract runs out in 2018, and by then he’ll be 33. Regardless of his ability, he won’t be able to hold any team ransom with the aid of super agent Jorge Mendes.
Why the MLS? Maybe there’s no real basis for the connection. It’s still an up and coming league, 21 years after its inception. It’s becoming more and more popular. Not just in terms of fans, TV ratings and the league’s own expansion. It’s becoming more and more attractive for European and South American stars trying to have a little fun before retiring, while having the option of some winter football on loan with a European club.
David Beckham made the move. So did Thierry Henry, maybe the best player who has ever played in the MLS (Beckham is the biggest star). Steven Gerrard (if he actually plays there, unlike the con job performed with Frank Lampard) is another huge name. He’s not alone. While the leagues in the Gulf like Qatar and UAE can often offer more money to certain stars, but the quality of life, the English, the level of football and other factors that come into making this decision, including more money than before, make the MLS an excellent league for the final years of a player that’s done everything and wants a little bit of relaxation combined with some good living.
So why not Ronaldo? Kaka is now the face of the franchise opening up in Orlando. Kaka was the best player in the world for a short while. He was the face of the new Galacticos in 2009 along with Cristiano Ronaldo. No one assumed his career was going to take the turn it has (for the worst) because of injuries and simply not fitting in later on with Jose Mourinho, or coming to AC Milan at the worst possible time.
Ronaldo’s career, as solid and successful as it seems right now, might take a turn downward. He might be close to being a bionic man and the prototypical footballer physically, but at some point, he’s going to start turning into an old man in footballing terms. Then, the talk of Manchester United and Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain won’t be taking the headlines. The Los Angeles Galaxy, or some other club, will take their place.