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Cristiano Ronaldo Would Be Foolish to Leave Real Madrid This Summer

VIGO, SPAIN - MARCH 10:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF celebrates after scoring Real's 2nd goal from the penalty spot during the La Liga match between RC Celta de Vigo and Real Madrid CF at Estadio Balaidos on March 10, 2013 in Vigo, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 4, 2013

Cristiano Ronaldo should end his career in the white shirt of Real Madrid.

Ronaldo scored two goals in Madrid's 4-3 win over Real Valladolid on Saturday. The performance just continues what has been an unreal spell for the winger at the Santiago Bernabeu. Here are his goal totals (h/t This is Football):

Despite the success he's had with the club, the rumors continue to swirl that he'll move this summer. Neil Custis and Dan King of The Sun reported Madrid would want cash plus Javier Hernandez in any prospective transfer of Ronaldo to Manchester United. Of course, Paris Saint-Germain would almost certainly throw its hat into the ring should Ronaldo become available (h/t Paul Doyle of The Guardian).

The question is, why would Ronaldo want to go anywhere?

When he left United in 2009, there was a sense of completion regarding his time at Old Trafford. He had helped the club win three Premier League titles and a Champions League in 2008. In addition, his star would be as big as it could get in England.

Real Madrid was one of the few clubs that has a larger reputation than United, and Ronaldo's image would be able to continue growing.

Yet, after four years at the club, his work is not quite done at Madrid. Los Blancos have been unable to win their 10th European title and still find themselves behind Barcelona in the larger scheme of things. Lionel Messi has done even more for Barca, and no one is clamoring for him to leave the Nou Camp.

Moving to PSG would mean a switch to Ligue 1. While the French league is growing, it's still a massive step down from La Liga. There is a large gap between Barcelona, Madrid and every other club in Spain, but it's still smaller than what Ronaldo would have in France at PSG.

The club is clearly trying to build itself as one of the elite in Europe, but that doesn't mean Ronaldo should have to be a part of that. Plus, it could be interesting who stays at the club this summer if Carlo Ancelotti leaves.

Going back to United would make much more sense. He still has an affinity for the club, and it's one of the best and most marketable clubs in Europe.

Why mess up a good thing, though?

Things are never as good the second time around. Ronaldo was a massive success at Manchester United. Couple that with a possible £65 million transfer fee, and you've got extremely high expectations—expectations that even Ronaldo might not be able to reach.

By staying at the Bernabeu, Ronaldo is setting himself up to be a Madrid legend for eternity, much like Alfredo Di Stefano, Raul, Zinedine Zidane and a host of other stars. Sure Raul and Di Stefano ended their respective careers with different clubs, but they were winding their careers down. Ronaldo is only 28 years old. He's nowhere near that point yet.

At Madrid, Ronaldo is unquestionably the man. The team is built around him.

Sure, there was that period of time where he was upset, but it's never going to get any better for Ronaldo.

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