Three things more likely at play than Cristiano Ronaldo actually transferring to Juventus

With Cristiano Ronaldo having returned home from the World Cup after Portugal’s Round of 16 exit, the transfer market rumors have become engulfed in flame with reports that Ronaldo is on the verge of completing a transfer to Italian giants Juventus.

Respected and well-sourced writer Gabriele Marcotti recently broke down why we should pump the breaks on this, and indeed, there are other things far more likely at play.

Real Madrid is dipping its toes back into the Galactico market

However slightly. Real Madrid has achieved unprecedented European success with four Champions League titles in the past five years, including the past three in a row, with a healthy dose of scouting and signing and developing young talents. It wasn’t the marquee name-hoarding of the turn of the century that earned the club the nickname Los Galacticos.

Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, who signed for a then-world record deal back in 2013, are the most notable transfer splashes in that regard in recent times. And indeed, Real Madrid is much more associated with making these purchases than offloading them.

But Ronaldo carries a reported release clause of $1.17 billion — which will almost certainly have to be slashed to make a sale, and maybe force Juventus to send back other players in return — just to earn the right to sign him to wages. Even if the price comes down, it’s a gargantuan amount of cash that Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and the board would have to at least consider receiving, even if it means selling the greatest player in the club’s history.

Plus, Real Madrid has reportedly targeted Paris Saint-Germain superstars Kylian Mbappe and Neymar for months now. Both are still playing at the World Cup, so it’s difficult to conduct business with them and their representatives at the moment. But if there is genuine interest, clearing up the Ronaldo situation could prove important, as it pertains to new signings’ fits with him, and their own wages, and the like.

(Getty)

Ronaldo and agent want to know where he stands at Real Madrid

Rumors of a big pay bump at Real Madrid have surfaced, but Ronaldo may want more, and his agent Jorge Mendes also co-represents new club manager Julen Lopetegui. The dots aren’t hard to connect from there. They could be conspiring to ensure Ronaldo stays around at whatever rate, or Mendes could want to do right by both his clients in one fell swoop. There are a number of possibilities here.

Ronaldo is 33 years old, but he’s still a match-winner on any given day and a perennial Ballon D’Or contender. And again, he’s quite simply the greatest player in Real Madrid history, and might be the greatest of all time.

It’s no small thing to sell someone like that, and maybe Real Madrid has no intention of it. But the possibility is higher than it’s ever been at the Bernabeu, and it’s understandable Ronaldo and his team/allies would want some clarity going forward.

Clicks, clicks, clicks during “Silly Season”

Then again, the most cynical (and perhaps the most likely) scenario here is while there’s truth to part of this story, the likelihood of Ronaldo joining Juventus or anything being imminent is tiny.

Outlets trade in rumor-mongering over the summer, and it’s almost always for the audience traffic. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say 80 percent (and that’s generous) of what’s “reported” doesn’t actually come to fruition. That’s partially why last summer’s Neymar-to-PSG saga was so remarkable; it sounded far-fetched on so many levels, yet it actually came true.

There’s smoke with this Ronaldo/Juventus story, more so than in the past, but that hardly means anything of consequence. So sit back, enjoy, and do so with more than a few grains of salt.

Joey Gulino is the editor of FC Yahoo and moonlights as a writer. Follow him on Twitter at @JGulinoYahoo.

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