Cristiano Ronaldo has been accused of tax fraud in Spain, and, according to reports, he has decided to leave the 2017 European champion, Real Madrid. Sources close to the player say he "doesn't want to stay in Spain" and that he has made up his mind.

The Portuguese star apparently feels that he is being persecuted and that his current club is not doing enough to defend his interests. Does this remind anyone of his rant in 2012 when he announced he was upset with the Real Madrid front office?

An improved salary ended up being the solution. Will it be the solution now? If Cristiano Ronaldo has irrevocably decided to leave Spain, then Real Madrid has to begin to move on.

Ronaldo leaves

If Ronaldo has indeed made up his mind, then all that's left to do is find a new home. Ronaldo will have to find a buyer willing to put on the table an amount of money only a few teams in the world can afford.

Ronaldo might want to become, yet again, the most expensive player in the world. There lies one difficulty.

The teams with that kind of money that come to mind are PSG, Manchester United, Manchester City, Bayern Munchen, and Barcelona. China or the US is most probably out of the question for Ronaldo right now. We know the option of long-time rival Barcelona is impossible. It is also improbable that Ronaldo would relocate to Munich and adopt its cold habits, Manchester City's Catalan coach Pep Guardiola will certainly not pursue the Real Madrid player.

Two teams are left - PSG and Manchester United. PSG is known to have the means, but the allure of playing in a top, competitive league would not be there. On the other hand, Ronaldo has previously said he would always have a special place in his heart for his former team Manchester United. The fact that they have made it into next season's UEFA Champion League helps.

It will come down to Ronaldo's willingness to work under his former coach José Mourinho.

The two famously clashed in Madrid, and the fact that Mourinho has not hesitated to praise Lionel Messi in several occasions in recent years or referring to the Brazilian Ronaldo Nazário as "the real Ronaldo" has not helped either. Apparently, the relationship between the two Portuguese men is more cordial now thanks to the intermediation of their agent Jorge Mendes.

Real Madrid would need to get working on a replacement for Ronaldo.

The names of players like Kylian Mbappe, Paulo Dybala, Robert Lewandowski, or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have surfaced in the media as potential targets for the Spaniards. However, none can assure the number of goals Ronaldo delivers every year. On the other hand, this might be the time for Real Madrid to bring in a star with different qualities, a star who can contribute more to the team's collective game.

Real Madrid could rejuvenate the squad with a player like Mbappe or Dybala, and these could be the superstars of the world in a few years. Lewandowski or Aubameyang would perform at the highest level right away. It could also be an opportunity to finally place Gareth Bale in his natural habitat - the left wing.

Ronaldo stays

The logical thing to think is that Ronaldo will remain a Real Madrid player.

Real Madrid has assembled an incredible team around him. Ronaldo does not need to contribute much to the build-up play of the team. A creative midfield and the verticality of the fullbacks enables Ronaldo to receive great piercing passes and crosses all day long in the box. The team is tailored to his needs; this situation would be very difficult to find elsewhere. If Ronaldo reconsiders his position and decides to stay with Real Madrid, then he might need to prepare some apologies. He would have put his team unnecessarily in a very difficult spot all of a sudden.

Messi went through something similar and ultimately decided to stay with the club of his life and accept the juridical consequences. If Ronaldo ends up leaving, then it will seem like he is fleeing and recognizing a guilt in evading $16.5 million in taxes. Cristiano has time to rethink his decision, and Real Madrid has time to convince him to stay. What is certain is that Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid have a restless summer ahead.

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