Megastar Ronaldo's shock move to fierce rivals

3 weeks ago 12
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Thirteen years ago, Cristiano Ronaldo became the best player in the world at Manchester United. He's arguably the greatest player to have ever worn the famous red shirt. Today, it is being widely reported across Europe that he will join United's local rivals Manchester City. 

Sir Alex Ferguson, one of the all-time great managers who was in charge of United for 27 years, once said that City were 'noisy neighbours'. If City are to sign Ronaldo, it would be the equivalent of your neighbour building a skyscraper.  

"Confirmed. Cristiano Ronaldo has definitely decided to LEAVE Juventus," respected Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano tweeted on Friday morning. "He asked the club to be sold. Juventus are waiting for Manchester City's official bid to arrive in the next hours to reach an agreement as soon as possible. Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave and he won't be available for next match. (Ronaldo's agent Jorge) Mendes is now discussing Ronaldo's contract with Manchester City."

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It was a bitter pill for United fans to swallow. Since the late 1990s, when David Beckham played for them, they have always been considered one of the biggest clubs in the world along with Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid. 

But in the last 10 years two clubs in particular, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, have through sheer financial strength been able to eclipse these once insurmountable giants. 

Both clubs are owned by royal families from the Middle East that have near limitless wealth due to oil and gas production. Both clubs have managed to price out nearly every other club in the market. 

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring in the 2008 Champions League final. (Getty)

"Having nation states financing clubs means that Barca or Madrid are going to have trouble competing, because they don't have owners, they're fan owned," Barcelona defender Gerard Pique explained recently. 

So when it was revealed earlier this month that Barcelona could no longer register their best player in history, Lionel Messi, even with a maximum 50 per cent reduction on his wages, everyone knew world football had entered a new era. Every club in the world wanted Messi in their team, but only two could afford him - PSG and Manchester City.

The Argentinian superstar opted for Paris and now it looks likely that his old rival Ronaldo will opt for City. 

Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus celebrates scoring at Singapore National Stadium. (Getty)

It's unprecedented the way these two players have dominated a team sport over the last 13 years. Now for what seems like the final chapters of their careers - Messi is 34, Ronaldo 36 - they will headline the two favourites for the most prestigious club competition in world football. 

In a way it was inevitable, in another way it's an incredible near unexplainable shock. The inevitability of wages and transfer fees sky-rocketing but the shock of never thinking two teams that barely anyone paid attention to 15 years ago are now on top of the footballing world. 

For Manchester City, there is no guarantee that Ronaldo will bring them success. How he - a player renowned for his individuality - will go under coach Pep Guardiola - historically known for his obsession with the collective even when it extinguishes individual brilliance - will be a fascinating experiment. 

Cristiano Ronaldo goes shirtless after Portugal lost to Germany. (Getty)

City do desperately need a goalscorer after their pursuit of Tottenham superstar Harry Kane fell through. In Ronaldo, they are getting one of the greatest goalscorers of all-time. However at 36, will he be able to deliver consistently in the Premier League and Champions League? 

Juventus paid $162 million to bring Ronaldo to Italy in 2018, with the intention that he would finally deliver them a Champions League trophy for the first time since 1996. In three seasons they didn't get past the quarter-finals. 

Meanwhile, City have spent nearly $2 billion on player transfer fees since Guardiola took over in 2016 and they still haven't been able to win the Champions League. They fell at the final hurdle last season against Chelsea - another team financed by oil and gas production. 

Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring his team's opening goal during the Italian Super Cup final. (AP)

Ronaldo and City could be a match made in heaven, they could be exactly what each other need - City could have a striker will a killer instinct who knows how to deliver in the big games while Ronaldo could have a team that creates so many chances for him he's easily able to score over 30 goals this season. However, it could also be a nightmare, with Ronaldo's individuality harming Guardiola's collective plan. 

PSG, meanwhile, have their own imminent shock move to deal with. Real Madrid are reportedly offering a package worth $340 million for 22-year-old striker Kylian Mbappe.

Incredibly, Mbappe can be signed on a pre-contract in January for free. 

Kylian Mbappe kisses the World Cup in 2018. (Getty)

Real Madrid, who have just renovated their stadium, are desperate to bring in a new star to follow in the footsteps of Zinedine Zidane, the Brazilian Ronaldo, David Beckham and of course, Cristiano Ronaldo. 

Madrid's president Florentino Perez claimed in April that his team was going broke and they couldn't possibly keep pace with the likes of PSG and City. Now, he is willing to pay the second highest transfer fee of all-time. 

They say a week is a long time in football, the next five days before the transfer window closes will be monumental. By the end of it we'll know if new money is the new king. 

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