- Portuguese released as a free agent
- Currently without a club
- Decision imminent as World Cup ends
WHAT HAPPENED? In the wake of an explosive interview with Piers Morgan in which the five-time Ballon d’Or winner criticised prominent figures from United’s past and present, the decision was taken at Old Trafford to release the legendary figure as a free agent. Various landing spots are now being touted for Ronaldo, from America to the Middle East, but Neville hopes his former team-mate can find another club that allows him to shine on the biggest stage – with the potential still there for him to remain in England.
WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking to Sky Sports, Neville said: “How does he see the end of his career playing out? Does he see the end of his career playing out in lesser leagues or does he see his career playing out in one of the major leagues and continuing at that level? I hope it’s the latter and he can find a club in a major league, even the Premier League – I would love him to stay in the Premier League at a club that can have him up front and we can watch him every week. That’s what we want to see, we want to see him playing.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Ronaldo has been training with Real Madrid in recent days, in a bid to keep himself fit and sharp off the back of a 2022 World Cup campaign that saw the curtain brought down on his international career at the very highest level. Neville added on seeing the 37-year-old bow out of that tournament after playing a bit-part role from the bench: “I felt sorry for Cristiano in the end when he was walking down that tunnel in tears – that long walk down the tunnel that they showed after the game against Morocco. That’s never a good image because you know he’s thinking ‘this is it, I’m never going to play in this tournament again’.”
IN TWO PHOTOS:Getty Images
WHAT NEXT? While much of the speculation surrounding Ronaldo’s future has focused on a supposedly lucrative offer from Saudi Arabia, there have been fresh rumours to suggest that Chelsea may yet rekindle their interest in the all-time great – which would allow him to continue gracing the Premier League stage.