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
£29million from Internazionale in 2002, to leave.
Coach Capello has not openly criticised Ronaldo, but the Brazilian was
omitted from the Real squad for Thursday's Copa del Rey clash with Real
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.