To many, Cristiano Ronaldo is the best football player of all time, and his achievements for clubs and country clearly speak for themselves.
The nba picks GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) debate will never end, but have we already seen the last of the Manchester United legend at the top of the game?
The 37-year-old proved he is far from finished last season, ending the Premier League campaign with 18 goals.
In 1997-98 and 1998-99, that return would have been enough to land Ronaldo a Golden Boot, but he does not need to add another one to the one he won in 2007-08 to prove himself to anyone.
CR7 has done it since 2006-07, scoring more than 20 goals across all competitions every season.
As a matter of fact, his return of 24 strikes last season is the least from him since 2009-10, failing to score more than 30 goals/season just twice since then.
With five Ballon d’Ors, four European Golden Shoes and many other individual awards to his name, Ronaldo has packed every accolade a player can dream of, but it appears his dominance in the continent, or at least with elite European clubs, is coming to an end.
He has been linked with a summer exit at Old Trafford for months, but securing a move away seems herculean as some of the Champions League clubs have publicly rejected the chance to sign him.
From the look of things, he could end up playing in the Europa League for the first time in his career, and whether Mr Champions League is keen on winning the competition is unknown.
With teams not particularly interested and not falling over themselves, as one would have thought, for the iconic goal machine, is this an indicator that a move outside Europe could be in the offing?
While Ronaldo’s wages could be a stumbling block for most deals to go through, the fact that no one is willing to take the risk on him speaks volumes.
Erik ten Hag insists he will be relying on the Portuguese this season, but the Dutchman opted for his attacking youngsters to lead the line against Liverpool on Monday (22 August) as desperately chased his first Premier League win of 2022-23.
At half-time, the Man Utd manager brought in Anthony Martial to replace Anthony Elanga, with Ronaldo only coming on with four minutes left on the clock.
Without a doubt, Ronaldo remains a threat in front of goal, but he is just no longer everyone’s cup of tea these days.
Despite winning five Champions League so far, he definitely wants more, but his chances of doing that right now are as slim as they come, to be honest.
The same thing can be said of his Ballon d’Or’s chances.
While some players often change their roles on the pitch as they age, Ronaldo has no plans of moving into midfield and becoming a playmaker.
He was born to score goals and that is not going to change till he retires.
No one knows for sure if this could be his last season in Europe, but with just a year left on his Man Utd contract before he becomes a free agent, just anything is possible.
Should he opt to move to the Major League Soccer (MLS) or China, he will not be short of options, and given the quality of football in North America and Asia, dominating either league should not be hard for a 38-year-old Ronaldo.
He could end up playing into his 40s like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but everyone will have to stop expecting more from him going forward.
He has proven himself over and over again and is still going strong while most of his age-mates have hung the boots.
We have enjoyed two decades of Ronaldo. His mesmerizing skills, goals, hat-tricks, headers, dribbles, ‘sui’ celebrations, runs and six-packs will live long in our memories and the archives of history.
He will definitely be treating us to more beautiful goals this term, and if it all comes to an end sooner rather than later, no one should complain.
The World Cup later this year is expected to be his last, and he will be hungry to bow out on a high and lead Portugal to glory.
Whether that can happen remains to be seen, but whatever happens with Ronaldo going forward, the fans should understand.