Despite the Real Madrid star signing a new, long-term deal for the Spanish giants, Chinese publication Xinhua has suggested he could leave for Asia at the end of his career.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo could eventually ply their trade in the Chinese Super League due to the ceaseless amounts of money available, China’s official Xinhua news agency believes.
A number of highly reputable players have made the decision to leave the European leagues to play in Asia as China continue to build their reputation. Reports from the Daily Mail suggest that Chelsea midfielder Oscar could be set for a €60 million switch to the CSL with Shanghai SIPG, which would beat the Asian transfer record of €58.5m which Shanghai paid for Hulk in the summer.
The 25-year-old has been a regular for Chelsea since joining the club in 2012 but has found himself playing a bit-part role under Antonio Conte and hasn’t started in the league since the 2-1 defeat by Liverpool in September.
And, while Shanghai SIPG has refused to comment on a potential transfer for the Brazilian, it is widely expected that another superstar will make the switch in the near future. “The CSL is becoming the richest buyer in world football, with Jackson Martinez, Alex Teixeira and Gervinho all being recent arrivals. Everyone is anticipating the next superstar who’ll be on his way to China this winter,” Xinhua published. “Given the huge pay cheques on offer, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are bound to be tempted to play in China when they are heading into the autumn of their careers.
“Latterly, both Arsenal talisman Alexis Sanchez and South Korea captain Ki Sung-Yueng were also linked with a lucrative move to China.
“If CSL’s financial might takes hold, it is believed that a Ballon d’Or winner will come here within a decade.” Ronaldo won his fourth Ballon d’Or award on Monday, a month after signing a new, long-term deal at Real Madrid.
The Portuguese’s extension keeps him tied to the club until 2021, when he will be 36 years of age, while the forward has suggested he will finish his career in the Spanish capital.
On completion of his renewal, Real boss Zinedine Zidane said: “Cristiano is unique. What he has done and what he will do. His only intention is to finish his career here.
“I am happy because we can renew and he can finish with this white shirt as I did long ago.”