Cristiano Ronaldo’s latest outburst in the form of his apparently-explosive interview with Piers Morgan was always going to spark transfer rumours, more so with club football being on a near-two-month break. One of the clubs to have had their name mentioned as a possible destination for the Portuguese – however real the links – are Serie A champions AC Milan.
It’s an easy link to make, right? AC Milan have had to rely on late goals a couple of times too many of late, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has missed the entire season so far through injury and even when he returns he’s a 41-year-old and not the Zlatan of even 2020.
Then there’s Divock Origi. The Belgian joined from Liverpool on a free transfer last summer with the expectation of fulfilling the role that he has so far fulfilled. He was never going to be more than Milan’s second-choice striker, but everybody involved in the move would have hoped and perhaps expected more of a return than just one goal so far.
So Ibrahimovic’s injury and Origi’s form have left Stefano Pioli with only one reliable option in attack – Olivier Giroud. But even the former Chelsea and Arsenal man is now 36 and can’t be expected to play every minute of every game. For all his important goals as well, there’s a valid question about whether or not he can deliver the kind of consistency in front of goal that is required to be the only option at no.9 for a team with aspirations of competing on multiple fronts.
Could Cristiano Ronaldo join AC Milan?
It’s only right to point out the obvious here: Cristiano Ronaldo would undoubtedly score goals if he were to return to Serie A with AC Milan. He’d probably score quite a lot. There’s also the fact that his signing could potentially get under the skin of many at Juventus, which would undoubtedly please a certain section of Rossoneri fans.
That said, AC Milan would be out of their minds to sign him. We’ve seen examples in recent seasons of how they’ve prioritised signing young and shifting when salary demands, and perhaps egos, start to get too big. Gianluigi Donnarumma left, Franck Kessie departed, Hakan Calhanolgu jumped across to Inter. Even now, Rafael Leao is 18 months from the end of his contract and Milan have reportedly put €5m per year on the table, with the winger holding out for closer to €7m.
As well, Milan have succeeded in the way that they have because of the group that Pioli has built. Ibrahimovic returned at the end of 2020 to be that superstar who was willing to put his ego aside, accept a secondary role and help the progress of those around him. Leao is just one of the players to have benefitted. Giroud came in later to share the burden with his fellow veteran forward, and it’s hard to fault the work they’ve done.
Cristiano Ronaldo has proven that, although talented, he as the potential to do more harm than good. His tantrums with Manchester United this season have done little more than paint himself in a bad light, and the Premier League side look the better for having finally found a way to sideline him.
Cristiano Ronaldo scores goals and wins things, or at least he has won a lot of things. But Milan’s current project is capable of winning without taking such an unnecessary and expensive risk.