Most people ask the question “will Ronaldo retire at Real Madrid” but the real question should be, with regards to any other player in the past or the present, can he retire at Real Madrid?
The remarkable level of play that one has to be able to achieve and sustain to be a regular player at Real Madrid is not something any player can do over the entire length of his career.
The ‘fenomeno’ Ronaldo couldn’t do it. The Milan king Kaka couldn’t and neither could legendary Raul.
So what would it take for Cristiano Ronaldo to retire at Real Madrid?
Ancelotti recently came out and reckoned that Ronaldo would retire at Real Madrid because everyone likes him at the club. As volatile as Madrid is as a club, as an employer and as a city, it’s shouldn’t be hard to imagine to what would happen if Ronaldo doesn’t score for like ten games instead of three.
Ronaldo has a contract with Real Madrid till the 2017-2018 season so the mere talk about his future at the club seems immature. He is scoring goals almost every game and rarely has a bad game in the white shirt.
With that said, it is a legitimate concern that it’s been awhile since Ronaldo had a stellar game for Real Madrid. He does score goals but most of those goals are finishing moves rather than some magic from Ronaldo’s feet that used to bedazzle defenders all across Europe.
Perhaps, one should also look at the fact that Ronaldo is now 30 years old and no longer has the pace he once had, on the wings especially.
His ability to play with extreme consistency for extended periods of time has shown that if anyone can maintain the level of play required at Real Madrid to retire at Real Madrid, then thats Ronaldo.
With Ronaldo’s unmatched skill on the ball and his extraordinary fortitude, you would not put past him to not maintain his excellence on the field till the day he hangs up his boots.
Cristiano Ronaldo, in all honesty, has a maximum of four years of solid football left in him but the real question is, perhaps, if Real Madrid is ready to rely on a aging Ronaldo?
Real Madrid could get a decent sum of money by selling Ronaldo within the next year or so and given that Ronaldo’s 31st birthday is less than five months away, who could say that wouldn’t be a bargain for Real Madrid.
Can Real Madrid even take the risk to play Ronaldo till his end days just because of what he has done for Real Madrid since his arrival from Manchester United seven years ago.
There is no straightforward answer to that question and perhaps it all really depends on Ronaldo. If he is able to demonstrate the desire and the hunger to go for more glory in a Real Madrid shirt for, however long, he decides to play then why not.
It’s a huge task for Benitez as well, who has tried to develop his own system of playing football after Ancelotti’s departure in the summer, to get the best out of a Ronaldo who, it seems, doesn’t have much fuel left in his tank.
With Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez also in the ranks, you wouldn’t put it past Benitez to shift away from all the glamour that comes with playing Ronaldo to something more practical like providing this Real Madrid team the means to win titles in the best possible way.
Making Gareth Bale the central player at Real Madrid this season seems to be the start of Ronaldo’s declining status in Real Madrid’s attack force.
Ronaldo’s five goal thriller against Espanyol is the only thing that is delaying the knives from Ronaldo’s critics and cutting him till he departs from the club.
With that said, Ronaldo’s contribution to the team regardless of his goals cannot be undervalued. The only bothersome thing about this whole scenario is Ronaldo not being able to perform to the levels he has shown in the past six years at Real Madrid.
His chemistry with the current management is definitely lacking and being the player Ronaldo is, that could affect is output on the field. Ronaldo might not need the absolute circumstances, like Messi, to succeed at Real Madrid but he would not be able to perform if his main role is of a facilitator rather than a finisher.
One thing that is for sure is that Ronaldo’s trailblazing speed days are past him. He probably will never play like the Ronaldo of Manchester United. Perhaps no coach after Benitez would even have a Ronaldo at the apex of his abilities.
Therefore, it is incumbent on Benitez to make sure that he accommodates for Ronaldo while Ronaldo can do a bit of magic on the field for Real Madrid before he gets wiser and starts spending time on things that ordinary folk enjoy.
By the time his contract is finished (as it stands today) at Real Madrid, Ronaldo would be not be a day younger than 33 years. It goes without saying that the rumor mill will brainstorm on his future by linking his next move either with Sporting Lisbon (where it all started for Ronaldo) or Manchester United, where Ronaldo burst onto the world stage of premier football.
Real Madrid need to consider whether Ronaldo is worth it till that moment. Ronaldo’s qualities on the pitch at present demand high premium but with his decreased influence in any given football match this season has put question marks over whether Real Madrid should continue to pay through the roof for Ronaldo’s services.
It goes without saying that even a past prime Ronaldo approaching his mid-30s would have considerable media attention to sell enough shirts for the club and generate enough revenue through his commercial contracts to warrant a stay at the club.
All will depend on how physically fit Ronaldo can remain in his twilight years. If past experience is anything to go by, then Ronaldo’s sickening dedication to his strict fitness regimen should see him sail through with flying colors.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, would be counting on Ronaldo to deliver the goods at least till his contract is up for renewal. Ronaldo has adapted to his fading pace and athletic ability on the pitch remarkable well for a player who was so dependant on quick footwork and blazing speed on the wings earlier in his career.
Prolonged unfulfilled desire and vision are two aspects that evolve for the better or worse, on a daily basis. In the end, only Ronaldo can justify his future role at Real Madrid.