10 years ago, it would have been unthinkable for a player of Ronaldo’s stature to be unable to find a club willing to take him regardless of his advancing age but that is the case today. Superstar players seem to have lost their value in the game and more and more clubs are turning away from them. This summer, Ronaldo has tried to leave Manchester United due to their lack of Champions League football and with the help of his agent, he has been offered to a number of top European clubs with all of them seemingly reluctant to sign the 5 time Ballon d’Or winner. As it stands, Ronaldo may find himself playing Thursday night football with Manchester United next season.
It is a similar situation with Neymar, with PSG trying unsuccessfully to move him on this summer. They will have to get the most out of him, probably until his contract runs out. Lionel Messi could be in a similar situation next season when his contract with the club runs out if they decide not to resign him, what with Christophe Galtier becoming the new head coach and the club declaring their intentions to move away from ‘bling-bling’ players. The only other realistic place he could end up is back in Barcelona and that’s just because of their attachment to him.
The lack of interest in big-name players is down to a number of factors, not least of all their salary demands. More importantly, however, I think it is primarily due to the rise of “system coaches”. These are coaches who come into a club to try to implement a usually rigid, but sometimes flexible style of play. Coaches like Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp, etc. These are the coaches that most big clubs are now going after, clubs that would be able to afford the superstar players normally. So this does not take into consideration the likes of the Serie A giants, barring maybe Juventus, and other clubs like Borrusia Dortmund. The system coaches need players to buy into what they preach and to practice it without asking questions, things like relentless pressing, something that will definitely be an issue with the biggest players in the game today. It is much easier to work with players who don’t have that ego yet and are still trying to make a name for themselves in football. Not to mention the influence these players will have in the dressing room. This can affect the attitude and performance of other players, which they’d definitely not want.
Back to their wages, Ronaldo is the highest earner in the Premier League and Messi and Neymar are two of the three best-paid players at PSG. Number four doesn’t even come close. A move for one of these guys to a club like AC Milan is definitely going to wreck their wage bill, their current top earner not even being paid up to 10 million net euros per year. They would have to slash their current wages by more than half to even be considered by any of these clubs. The only other option is the mid-table Premier League teams like Aston Villa and Newcastle United or a team in a country like Saudi Arabia, who could probably afford to pay a salary close to what they currently earn but that is probably not going to be attractive to these guys with Ronaldo having already turned down an offer from a Saudi Arabian club
Ronaldo will begin the new season with Manchester United in the Premier League today but where do you think he will end up come September 1?