The next great “coming to MLS” rumor involves, arguably, the greatest player currently walking the planet not named Lionel.
“File this one for down the road, but multiple sources tell me that Cristiano Ronaldo’s current plan is to come to MLS after he finishes at Real Madrid, with one source saying he would likely arrive on a free transfer in 2018 once his current contract ends.”
Fancy, right? Wahl also states that Ronaldo’s shortlist of possible destinations includes the usual suspects: Los Angeles, New York, and Miami (which doesn’t yet have an MLS team).
Now that we have a tangible rumor to savor, let’s assess the strengths of each destination for the soon-to-be high-end dress shoe magnate.
The case: The obvious Los Angeles destination for the Real Madrid star is the StubHub Center, home of Bruce Arena’s Galaxy. That’s because since Chivas USA imploded and ceased to be a team, the Galaxy are the only show in town. However, that’s only until new MLS team Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) kicks off in the spring of 2017.
But Los Angeles doesn’t just make a lot of sense because, statistically, the city will have two teams by the date of Ronaldo’s potential arrival. It also has several notable, non-soccer-related intangibles.
The Southern California hub is home to a vibrant movie industry. The next phase of Ronaldo’s career will inevitably involve making the most of that nexus as Cristiano Ronaldo the Businessman looks to diversify his portfolio. One of his pursuits will obviously be a career as a shirtless action hero in feature films. He doesn’t takes off his shirt at every opportunity simply because he has an addiction. Ronaldo is forward-thinking. He’s aware of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career trajectory.
Which leads to Ronaldo’s next move. The movie career while residing in Southern California will lead to Ronaldo seeking a permanent residence in the United States. He will get a green card by applying as an “Alien of Extraordinary Ability,” which will eventually lead to the Portugal captain securing full citizenship.
His next step: California Governor Cristiano Ronaldo.
This all sounds unlikely, but it’s definitely possible.
Hair factor: Los Angeles offers a stunning number of hair salons and hair stylists per capita. That should offset the humidity and make the City of Angeles a strong possibility for the start of Ronaldo’s MLS adventure.
NEW YORK CITY
The case: By the time MLS First Kick takes place in March 2018, Cristiano Ronaldo will be 33 years old. Adjusted for New York City age, that’s basically the equivalent of either mid-20s or late-50s. Those numbers will work just fine for Ronaldo, considering businessman Cristiano will be acting like a 50-year-old, while 20-something-year-old Cristiano will be able to enjoy the by then Lower East Side’s hipster-with-ungodly money scene. It’s the best of both worlds, especially if he’s still single.
Similar to LA, New York Ronaldo will have his choice of two teams: the New York Red Bulls, who, post-Henry, have pretty much sworn off spending money on shiny things, and New York City FC, who could very well be fielding a starting XI that includes David Villa, Xavi, Frank Lampard, and … um … Mix Diskerud.
We already know how this plays out: MLS creates “the Cristiano exception,” Ronaldo joins NYCFC, and then promptly joins Manchester City on loan. Then we’ll learn that Cristiano never actually signed with NYCFC but is actually contracted to Manchester City. He will join NYCFC in the summer of 2018.
That’s how this New York thing would play out. Ronaldo would hang out in the Hamptons with Diddy, Jay Z, Beyoncé, and probably, somehow, Cory Booker.
Can’t you see Ronaldo wearing a fitted Yankees hat already?
Hair factor: New York is also a great fit for Ronaldo’s hair. The city’s humidity-to-hair-product ratio outperforms his other potential destinations.This matters. Plus, rich people in New York City don’t go outside.
The case: Everything about Miami, aside from the humidity (discussed below), screams Cristiano Ronaldo. Sure, Miami doesn’t even have an MLS team. But that’s not really relevant because Ronaldo belongs in Miami regardless of whether MLS in Miami ever happens.
Miami boasts a vibrant yacht life. Ronaldo is all about that yacht life. Miami has Pitbull and copious amounts of unfiltered reggaeton, which also appeals to the superstar’s sensibilities. Miami also isn’t Manchester, which is another bonus. Miami also has an ungodly number of Pollo Tropical eating establishments, where, for a low, low price of $5 and a couple of pennies, you can get a Tropichop. That includes your choice of meat, yellow rice, black beans, tomatoes, corn, sautéed peppers and onions, and some sauce. That’s a hell of a deal.
But the most important Miami plus-factor is undoubtedly that “the House that 2 Live Crew and Pitbull built” will, in theory, have Ronaldo’s ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid teammate David Beckham as one of the Miami Vice (fingers crossed) owners, if Beckham and his team can actually get it together and make things easy for MLS Commissioner Don Garber & Friends to sign the paperwork.
Beckham is everything that Ronaldo wants in life. He’s widely considered handsome. He sold beaucoup shirts for both Manchester United and Madrid. He possesses world-class hair. He models underwear and sells underwear to the underprivileged masses. He’s all about that external business. He’s synonymous with soccer, but he’s so much more than the game.
What better way for Ronaldo to continue to be better at everything Beckham has done than to work under his wing, committing high-level corporate espionage while pretending to play soccer? That kind of access that trumps the millions of dollars he’d be paid as a member of the Vice. A Beckham mentorship program is something you can’t put a price on.
All of this easily makes Miami the front-runner. The city now just needs an actual team.
Hair factor: Aside from an MLS team in Miami not existing, the only other significant negative for Miami is the humidity. In Miami, even the humidity has humidity, and that’s not a good thing for Ronaldo’s hair. But Beckham will have consultants to show him the workaround. Humidity, alone, won’t stop Ronaldo in Miami from being a real thing.