In a move that many have labeled as “stunning”, Cristiano Ronaldo agreed to terms for leaving the Italian club Juventus and rejoining the squad that made him famous under Sir Alexander Ferguson, Manchester United. Ronaldo’s time in Juventus will be marked as a failure, despite what Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri might say. Though Ronaldo won two Serie A titles with Juve, they never made it past the quarterfinals of the Champions League, falling to Ajax, Lyon, and Porto. Some have compared Ronaldo’s return to Manchester to Michael Jordan returning to Chicago. If Ronaldo is so certainly MJ, then where does that leave Lionel Messi? At an impossibly expensive hotel in Paris, apparently.
The Messi saga with Barcelona finally came to an end this summer, at least for the time being. After years of disputes with ownership, saying that he wanted to go and then that he didn’t, Messi finally did leave his club of twenty-one years in Barcelona for Paris, France. There he joined Neymar, Mbappe, Angel di Maria, Pochettino, and a Champions League-or-Bust Paris Saint-Germain squad. Messi left Barca after La Liga-set financial restrictions prevented Las Blaugranas from resigning their superstar due to a pandemic-driven reduction in revenues. (In a way, it's fair to say that COVID-19 is the reason Messi left Barcelona.) It was a shocking turn of events, a seismic shift in the European football landscape. For a month the center of power moved, seemingly irrevocably, to Paris. But with Ronaldo’s return to the Reds, Manchester appears to be the city most likely to dominate Europe this season. Whether it’s Guardiola's City or Ole Gunnar Solskjær's United who dominates is yet to be told.
This season’s Machester Derbies should be better than ever.
Man U is fielding a powerhouse squad, with young talent like Jadon Sancho playing alongside seasoned Portugueses like Bruno and Ronaldo. DeGea has been slipping in the past few seasons, but the Red Devil’s offense should be able to keep up with anyone. Man U will have much to keep up with domestically from Manchester City, Chelsea, and Tottenham. All four squads look top-notch, most with five to six starters on their benches. The Premier League, much like Messi's old league La Liga, is up in the air this season, with four or five clubs vying for number one. La Liga will see battle royales between a Barcelona team with something to prove, a resilient Real Madrid squad, a ready-to-repeat Atletico Madrid, and a Champions League-bound Sevilla. As for PSG in Ligue 1, well... let’s just say that it’s theirs to lose. There’s no real reason that PSG shouldn’t go undefeated in France for the next two years, or at least until Messi retires to Inter Miami CF. Mbappe will certainly be heading towards Madrid next season, possibly even sooner. There he will likely be joined by Borussia’s Golden God, Erling Haaland, who has outgrown the Bundesliga. But even when PSG loses Mbappe, they've already gained a Messi. That's what really counts.
Messi signed with PSG on 10 August 2021. He signed a two-year, roughly $84 million deal with a $30 million signing bonus, incentives worth up to $75 million per season, and an option to extend a third year. Ronaldo signed a two-year deal with Manchester United on 27 August 2021. Manchester United is buying out Ronaldo's contract from Juventus at approximately $20 million per season. Ronaldo is reportedly set to make roughly $34 million a season, plus incentives. He is the English Premier League’s highest-earning player ever, replacing his now teammate, French center-back Raphael Varane, for the top spot. Varane agreed to a $32 million per year deal earlier this year with Man U. A.S. Roma head coach Jose Mourinho called the move “perfect business”, a term he did not reserve for his own tenure with the club.
One thing is for certain - Pep Guardiola must be kicking himself after City whiffed on Ronaldo, Messi, and Kane, all in the same transfer window.