Cristiano Ronaldo is thought to be keen on ending his career at boyhood club Sporting CP before he ends what has been an illustrious career.
The five-time Ballon D’or winner is out of contract with Italian giants Juventus next summer, and the Portuguese superstar is reportedly set on the idea of returning to where it all began back in 2003.
Ronaldo has appeared unhappy during spells in Turin, with Juventus still reeling from the confirmation that their nine-year spell of dominance in Serie A is over after Inter Milan were crowned league champions.
This disappointment has only added further fuel to the fire surrounding Ronaldo’s potential exit, which would hinder Juventus massively – the ‘Old Lady’ heavily reliant on Ronaldo’s goals this season.
The Juventus number 7 bagged himself a dramatic brace last weekend, helping his side come from 1-0 down to beat Udinese 2-1 after a notching twice in the last ten minutes.
Though it was overshadowed by the news of Inter’s title success, it did go some way to keeping Juventus in the hunt for Champions League football next season.
Reports in Italy have claimed Ronaldo is keen to ‘end his cycle’ with Juventus before eventually returning home to Portugal.
The rumours suggest Ronaldo wishes to see out the remainder of his contract at Juventus before joining Sporting in 2022.
It did stress how Ronaldo has no intention of leaving Turin before the end of his contract, up next summer.
The striker is settled in Italy, and is fully behind manager Andrea Pirlo.
Ronaldo is already adored by Sporting, who named their entire academy set up after him last year.
A statement released by the club read: “It is with great honour that Sporting Clube de Portugal informs that the Clube Academy will be renamed Academia Cristiano Ronaldo.
“The good son makes the house and the house that made Cristiano Ronaldo now welcomes his name in honour of the one who became the best Portuguese player of all time, the best player in the world, was awarded the Ballon d’Or five times and captained the national team to European Championship and Nations League success.
“The Academy will thus immortalise the name of the greatest symbol ever formed and that will be an inspiration to follow for all the youngest talents.
“On a date to be announced, and as soon as conditions permit, the club will make the official inauguration.”
However, before Ronaldo goes anywhere, the former Real Madrid superstar has set himself a four-step plan of things to achieve before he bids farewell to Turin.
Secure Champions League football
Simply put, if Juventus do not qualify for the Champions League next season, that could speed up Ronaldo’s exit entirely.
The forward has always thrived in Europe’s most elite competition and is the tournament’s highest scorer with 134 goals.
May 19 sees Juventus meet Atalanta in Sassuolo’s Mapei Stadium for the Coppa Italia final, which hands Ronaldo the chance to reach five trophies in just three years at the club, after two Scudetto triumphs and two Supercoppa Italianas.
The first player to be the top goalscorer in three leagues
Since his arrival, Ronaldo is Serie A’s leading marksman. He has 79 goals to his name, his nearest competitor is Ciro Immobile with 70.
However, he is yet to actually win a golden boot. In 2018/19 his 21 goals placed him behind Fabio Quagliarella, Zapata and Krzysztof Piatek. He hit 31 in 2019/20, but was outscored by Immobile’s 36.
He has sufficient ground out in front of the pack this season, sitting on 27 while second placed Romelu Lukaku has 21.
If were Ronaldo were to finish this domestic campaign as top scorer, he would become the first player in history to be the top scorer in three of Europe’s top-five leagues
100 and out
Ronaldo is the leading scorer in Real Madrid history, averaging more than a goal a game, with 451 in 438 appearances.
In Italy, he has seen that rate drop slightly, though is currently on the cusp of 100 goals for the club – he sits on 99 in 129 games.
He could comfortably surpass the Juventus goal scoring tallies of Michel Platini’s 104 and John Charles’ 105 before he departs.