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Cristiano Ronaldo Reportedly Targeting MLS Move to Los Angeles

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2015

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the second leg quarterfinal Champions League soccer match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, April 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

Cristiano Ronaldo wants to head to Los Angeles once his Real Madrid contract expires in 2018, according to Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated.

Wahl first reported Ronaldo's alleged interest in a switch to Major League Soccer during March. He has revealed extra information, writing, "Ronaldo has now decided the city where he wants to be: Los Angeles."

Two teams are likely to be situated in the City of Angels by the time CR7's Bernabeu contract comes to an end, detailed by Wahl:

It could be the Galaxy or LAFC, and while talks have yet to take place between Ronaldo and any MLS teams, L.A. is Ronaldo’s preferred destination. Meanwhile, I’m told it’s looking more likely every day that LAFC won’t start play until 2018. That means we could see Ronaldo debut for a new team in a new stadium that year.

Paul White/Associated Press

So-called "franchise players" have become commonplace for MLS' biggest teams, and indeed, those just entering the league structure.

New York City FC and Orlando City are currently working through their debut seasons with David Villa and Kaka taking the headlines at the respective clubs. Both players are legends of the European game and have the power to pull in a larger global audience.

Los Angeles Galaxy are used to luring high-profile players from across the globe. Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard will join the team at the end of the Premier League season, while Galaxy skipper Robbie Keane headed to the club after a distinguished career at sides including Inter Milan, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Celtic.

David Beckham, one of football's most famous names, helped pave the way by joining Galaxy in 2007.

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Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Ronaldo's potential arrival in the U.S. would likely outrank the rest. He's won every trophy worth winning in Europe and is rightfully considered one of the sport's best ever. Representing Manchester United and Real Madrid gains great traction abroad, meaning he could be the perfect face of LAFC, when the franchise finally launches.

He remains one of football's most marketable stars and, with 39 goals in La Liga this season, is still at the top of his game. Like Thierry Henry, who joined New York Red Bulls when his ageing legs began to show, a move to America could keep the Portuguese player scoring goals for a prolonged period of time.

No club, no matter how big, would turn down the chance to sign Ronaldo. The 30-year-old will likely receive a plethora of offers when he next becomes available, so any suitors will need to work extremely hard to convince him of their project.

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