Ronaldo’s Real Madrid career could well be drawing to an end, with the possibility he will leave the Spanish giants before the transfer window closes.
Plagued by injury and criticised for being overweight, Ronaldo has been a shadow of his former self this season and has netted just four times since returning to action at the end of September.
And it could be that he will be the first high-profile casualty of Monday’s emergency meeting between Real coach Fabio Capello, sporting director Predrag Mijatovic, president Ramon Calderon and technical secretary Franco Baldini.
The meeting was called to discuss Real’s poor form, which has seen the team lose three of their last four league matches culminating in Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Deportivo La Coruna.
Although the specifics of that conference have not been made public, Mijatovic claimed afterwards they highlighted the problem areas and had implemented measures to deal with them.
One of those measures may well be to allow the 30-year-old Ronaldo, a £29m (€43m) from Internazionale in 2002, to leave.
Coach Capello has not openly criticised Ronaldo, but the Brazilian was omitted from the Real squad for tonight’s Copa del Rey clash with Real Betis.
Also missing from the squad for technical reasons were David Beckham, Antonio Cassano, Michel Salgado, Francisco Pavon and Alvaro Mejia – all senior players who have struggled to make an impact this season.
When asked directly yesterday if he had a problem with Ronaldo, Capello said: “I don’t like to single anybody out. Win or lose, it’s a team affair and I head the entire project.”
Regardless of that, Spanish media believe Ronaldo is living on borrowed time at the Bernabeu.
Marca claim he has two offers on the table from interested clubs, one from Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad and another from a European side.
Ronaldo’s contract with Real runs out in 2008 but, with the Spanish side already building for the future by bringing in new blood such as former River Plate striker Gonzalo Higuain, the three-time FIFA World Player of the Year could decide to cut his losses at the Bernabeu long before then.