Following another ignominious Champions League exit for Juventus, rumors have again surfaced that Cristiano Ronaldo is considering swapping Turin for Paris. But why would PSG even want the Portuguese star?
Smarting from their tepid Champions League last 16 exit against Lyon, Juventus took the widely expected step of dispensing with the services of manager Maurizio Sarri after just one season in charge.
READ MORE: A Sarri state of affairs: Juventus coach gave his bosses little choice but to sack him after being so blunt about his expectations
Wrapping up a ninth successive Scudetto was not enough for Sarri, with the fate of Juventus managers now measured by the far higher bar of success in Europe, where the Bianconeri are desperate to end their two-and-a-half-decade quest for a Champions League crown.
Ronaldo was signed for exactly that purpose: a five-time winner of the competition, the Portuguese forward is a clutch player for crunch moments in Europe’s elite club tournament.
He showed that last season with his second-leg hat-trick which rescued the Turin club against Atletico Madrid in the last 16 (before they fell against Ajax), and almost did so again with his two goals against Lyon on Friday.
All that proved in vain as Juve stumbled out, precipitating the departure of the underwhelming Sarri and the naming of club legend Andrea Pirlo – a man with no notable managerial experience – in his place.
On a personal level, it’s hard to argue against Ronaldo this season, who has plundered 37 goals in all competitions for Juventus, ending the Serie A campaign as their top scorer.
Ronaldo’s social media output has made all the right noises in recent days about sticking around to honor his €30 million-a-year Juventus contract, which runs until the summer of 2022, and by which time he will be 37.
In a message to his 235 million Instagram followers, Ronaldo wrote of a “time for reflection” while demanding that Juventus players “have to deliver” and “live up to the highest expectations.”
But the newspapers have painted a very different story in recent days. Leading up to the encounter with Lyon there was talk in respected outlet France Football – which has bestowed the Ballon d’Or on Ronaldo five times – of the Portuguese forward openly expressing a wish to join PSG during a frustrating period earlier in the season when he struggled with injury and form.
Those rumors have been reignited in the fallout from Juve’s Champions League exit, with a report in another French outlet, Foot Mercato, claiming that Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, has already tested the waters of a potential switch for his client with PSG director Leonardo, and could step up efforts at the Champions League quarterfinals, where the French giants take on Atalanta in Portugal on Wednesday.
But no matter how much the media push the narrative of a wantaway Ronaldo and a superagent plotting another lucrative late-career move for his client, the idea that PSG would even want the forward seems the farthest-fetched aspect of any potential move.
PSG and Juventus do have a shared obsession in the form of that elusive Champions League title. So dominant domestically, neither have been able to replicate that on the biggest stage.
But for all his goals, assuming that Ronaldo would be the man to win the Champions League for PSG – if they fail to manage that task this season – would be flawed logic, just as it has been for Juventus.
The French champions already have an embarrassment of riches up front.
They have the world’s most expensive player in Neymar, who is finally showing signs of being content in Paris, perhaps helped by the knowledge that former club Barcelona are not in any position to lure him back in the near future, as the club’s president recently made clear.
They have Kylian Mbappe, the presumed heir to the Messi-Ronaldo throne as the world’s best player, and who has scored 30 goals in 34 appearances for his club this season.
And they also have Mauro Icardi, for whom they agreed a deal worth a minimum of €50 million at the end of May to make his signing from Inter Milan permanent.
PSG simply do not need more attacking options, despite the bucketload of goals that Ronaldo would offer. Little would change in that regard, even if they do fall short in Europe again this season.
Even looking at the marketing appeal that Ronaldo would bring with his unrivalled online following and profile, it’s unlikely that PSG could afford the kind of outlay that would be required for the Portuguese when they have the likes of Neymar and Mbappe weighing heavily on the books.
They may be bankrolled by the billions of their Qatari owners, but they still have to comply with UEFA Financial Fair Play principles, and have been burned in the past by the European footballing authorities.
For all these reasons, any notion of Ronaldo swapping Turin for Paris remains a pipe dream for those in the French press looking to flog papers and bring in clicks, and for superagents circling to cash in on football’s most bankable name.
Beyond that, it really makes no sense at all.