Former Portugal international Paulo Futre believes Cristiano Ronaldo will leave Real Madrid for Manchester United or Paris Saint-Germain this summer, as the star forward seeks one final massive payday.
The 30-year-old has so far pledged his allegiance to Los Blancos at every turn, but that hasn't stopped transfer rumours from swirling.
Real's poor fortunes under former manager Rafa Benitez didn't help matters, and while things have looked better under new boss Zinedine Zidane, Futre still thinks a summer move is likely for Ronaldo, per Goal's Stefan Coerts:
It has been disheartening times for him. He has not been getting the affection he needs, although things are slightly better now following the arrival of Zinedine Zidane.
The big question is whether he will stay with Madrid or leave for PSG or Manchester United and I believe he will leave. I think a lot of things will have to change in order to convince him to stay.
It is the last opportunity for him and Jorge Mendes to negotiate a big contract somewhere in Europe.
I think Madrid will have to either win a major title like the Champions League or La Liga, or risk losing Cristiano at the end of the season.
Ronaldo is enjoying another prolific season for Real, having scored 16 goals in 21 La Liga starts, per WhoScored.com. However, the 2015-16 campaign has been far from perfect for the three-time Ballon d'Or winner.
Per El Espanol (h/t Goal), he has been banned from taking regular trips to Morocco, as his recent performances haven't been up to par. Jesus Balseiro of Madrid-based AS recently reported his conversion percentage sits at a lowly 11 percent, well below the numbers other top La Liga forwards are putting up.
There have also been a number of incidents on the pitch, most recently against Real Betis, but somehow, the veteran keeps getting away with lashing out at opponents, per Sport's Rik Sharma:
Cristiano Ronaldo needs anger management. Violent conduct/off the ball attacks five times in under three months pic.twitter.com/nniCbSWkRW— Rik Sharma (@riksharma_) January 25, 2016
He remains one of the most gifted footballers on the planet and Real's most vital contributor, but Ronaldo hasn't looked himself in 2015-16, and a move may be what both parties need.
Los Blancos have won just one La Liga title and one UEFA Champions League since the Portuguese star joined the club in 2009, far too little for a club as ambitious as Real.
And with Barcelona looking like an unstoppable machine, president Florentino Perez should consider rebuilding the squad, which would start with getting rid of some of the veterans.
That includes Ronaldo, who would likely fetch a massive transfer fee that could go a long way toward a rebuild. PSG and Manchester United are frequently mentioned as potential destinations, and both have the cash to make a move for Ronaldo.
The links with the latter are obvious, as Ronaldo is still massively popular at Old Trafford after becoming a global superstar with United. Meanwhile, he has already made several comments that seemed to indicate he was open to a move to the French capital, to the annoyance of Real Madrid, per Sport's Alejandro Alcazar.
As you can see in this video, he still would have plenty to offer to interested clubs:
All talk of a transfer will likely have to wait until Zidane has had a chance to outline his plans for the future, however. Ronaldo didn't look himself during the few months of Benitez's tenure and still appears to be struggling, but it's possible he could rediscover his best form and love of the club in the coming months.
Should he finally win a second La Liga title or Champions League trophy with Los Blancos, he may be less tempted to leave the club during the summer―and Perez would surely be less inclined to cash in on his biggest asset.