Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to English football with Manchester United hasn’t gone as well as he and his legion of followers would have liked. Yes, he scored an impressive 24 goals last season, but his team were nowhere near any silverware come the end of the season. And this season has been even worse with just a single league goal from his first seven appearances, and he faced the ignominy of being an unused substitute during United’s 3-6 thrashing by neighbors Manchester City.
For a player who was once at the heart of the most captivating rivalry in football history, as well as winning the UEFA European championship, five UEFA Champions Leagues, and seven domestic titles in England, Spain and Italy, a glorious career seems to be stuttering to its closure. And Manchester United has already told him he can leave in January, though you’d have to imagine the number of clubs which could afford his astronomical wage demands would be low – perhaps Paris St Germain or a handful of clubs in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, or even the US.
CREDIT Addesolen, Cristiano Ajax, CC0 1.0
What about if he retires? What could the future hold for non-football playing Ronaldo?
Building the Brand
During his long career he has jealously guarded his images rights which helped make him one of the highest earning football playersover the last decade. He has his own fashion brand, CR7, a hotel and his own fragrance which will keep the dollars and cents rolling in once he does hang up his boots. There would be a lot of interest in any new ventures the global superstar/one man brand may turn to.
Staying in Football
It is difficult to see him becoming a coach. For a start, he probably wouldn’t be willing to work his way up to the top jobs by starting out at lower league clubs, which is the usual career pathway. And if his team were to tank what would that do to the Ronaldo brand he has so assiduously built over the years? If not management then owning his own club may have more appeal. He’d then be following in the footsteps of another Manchester United and Real Madrid legend, David Beckham, who wore the same number seven shirt and became more than just a footballer. Beckham is now a co-owner of Inter Miami and has effortlessly slid into the role of a global ambassador for a number of causes, a role Ronaldo may feel he is well suited for.
A Career in Poker
Ronaldo is one of a number of poker playing athletes, and he could turn to the felt after hanging up his boots. Seven years ago, he was appointed brand ambassador for a popular poker company saying at the time how much he loved the game. Like management though, as someone who got so used to winning with a football at his feet, how would he fare having to rely on the luck of the draw? On the pitch he has his talent and 10 exceptionally good teammates working together. At the poker table he can only rely on the cards he is given. Remaining as a high-profile poker ambassador though would give him the publicity he enjoys.
A Movie Star
A slightly left-field suggestion as a career path post-football came when he suggested he was interested in a career in acting. Ronaldo has already appeared in documentaries about himself and seems enamored with the idea of being in front of the camera more often. It’s not a traditional path for an ex-player but some footballers have chosen an acting career. Former Welsh international Vinnie Jones is one who has made the transition from playing to acting, including a role in X-Men: The Last Stand. Could Ronaldo follow Jones down that path?
Going Back to School
Could Ronaldo further his studies? He has frequently said he is keen to learn new things but whether that would involve seeing one of the greatest players of all time swotting up for exams is unlikely. But growing up in an impoverished family as the son of a cook and a gardener he is likely to appreciate the role a good education can offer. He has also mentioned how he would be a good mentor suggesting any future education path could see him as a positive role model mentoring those less fortunate. This is an area he has already been involved in after taking an interest in Martunis Sarbini who famously survived the 2005 Aceh tsunami.