Cristiano Ronaldo should leave Juventus, is not needed by Paris Saint-Germain and could head for England, according to his friend and former UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
MMA megastar Nurmagomedov has clearly been keeping a keen eye on developments amid frenzied conjecture about Ronaldo’s future at the Italian giants, intensified by the Portugal powerhouse being left out of the starting lineup for his side’s 2-2 draw at Udinese in their opening match of the Serie A season on Sunday.
Ronaldo issued a seemingly-irritated statement last week urging the media to bring a halt to the rumors surrounding the final year of his contract at Juve, and Nurmagomedov, who has posed for photos and traded compliments with the 36-year-old on social media, believes Ronaldo would benefit from leaving Turin.
“In my opinion, it would be better if Cristiano changed team,” the one-time UFC lightweight king told Match TV ahead of the closure of the transfer window next week.
“No offense to Juventus fans. PSG? No, they have enough of their own stars. If he moved to England at the end of his career, I would be interested.”
The French title favorites signed Ronaldo’s arch hall-of-fame rival, Lionel Messi, earlier this month, adding the legendary goal machine to a strikeforce that already boasts the two most expensive footballers of all time in Brazil playboy Neymar and France sensation Kylian Mbappe.
That has made Manchester City the frontrunners to become Ronaldo’s next club, with the reigning Premier League champions linked with a cut-price $34 million move for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner recently.
Nurmagomedov’s wish could move to a step closer to realization should City fail to resolve their transfer stand-off with Spurs over Harry Kane before the end of the transfer window, although Ronaldo has closer links with huge-spenders Manchester United, with whom he had a hugely successful spell between 2003 and 2009.
‘The Eagle’ has also been mulling a shock switch recently after a Russian third division club purportedly offered him a contract. He does not envisage one of the greatest players of all time following suit.
“Cristiano to Dynamo Legion? It will be hard for them both to agree a salary,” reasoned Nurmagomedov.
The fan of Real Madrid, where Ronaldo starred from 2009 until 2018, can empathize with enduring constant speculation courtesy of his own experiences since he retired from the UFC after beating Justin Gaethje last October.
No press conference or interview is complete without Nurmagomedov being asked whether he has plans to return to action, with American UFC lightweight Kevin Lee becoming the latest fighter to insinuate that he would relish a fight with the Russian.
“They did their best to keep him on the right path,” Lee told SBN on Monday, suggesting that Nurmagomedov had been handed easy opponents with the help of “smart” manager Ali Abdelaziz.
I don’t care what anybody says Kevin Lee would have been khabib’s toughest test at the time. At the very least presents a different challenge, one that generally works against khabibs style
— snus 👊 (@SNUSROCKETMMA) August 24, 2021
Every fighter would be Khabib’s toughest test…..before entering the octagon 🤣
— Baby Jab (@Miumium16026824) August 24, 2021
“It is a little disappointing that that fight never happened with me and Khabib, if he doesn’t come back.
“I see that the man’s out there playing soccer, so who knows? Maybe I might pick up a soccer ball and we can have a little one-on-one match, one of these days.
“That’s just a guy I want to test myself against. He’s a great champion and all that, but people are seeing now that he didn’t really have the challenges that he should have had to really be an all-time great.
Lol, be real… khabib would absolutely kill lee with his eyes closed.
— Cody (@CodyBoucher2) August 24, 2021
Lee has no chance in hell. He better stay away from Islam.
— kunta kimchi (@Str8Wrong) August 24, 2021
“He never really fought a great wrestler and that was something that I was seeing the whole time, coming up.
“People are sitting back and really looking at the whole career. They’re really seeing it for what it is and not just all this hype and Russian bots that get behind him.”
Lee, 28, has lost three of his last four fights as part of a sequence of two wins in six bouts, including defeat by submission in his most recent contest, when he was beaten by Charles Oliveira in March 2020.