Haaland, Mbappé, Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid

What we do know about Cristiano Ronaldo’s possible return to Real Madrid is that Mendes, his agent, offered Madrid’s president Florentino Pérez the option. Juventus thought that signing Ronald was all they needed to win the Champions League, but in football two plus two only add up to four from time to time. Three of the four years of his contract have passed and although he’s scored 90 goals in 100 games and has notched 30 this season, all eyes are focused on him, and not in a good way. The feeling is that he’s not lived up to expectations. Equally, he feels let down by a team in which he’d placed his confidence, sure that they’d lead him to Ol’ Big Ears once again, which he could then wave about in front of Florentino Pérez’s face.

Real Madrid's squad rebuild has not gone to plan

Things haven’t gone well for Florentino without Ronaldo either. Madrid don’t look in great shape to challenge for the Champions League, although they are still in it. The renewal of the team failed - the best players are those that survived: Carvajal, Varane, Sergio, the three midfielders and Benzema. Add, if you want, Courtois, no better but no worse than the keeper he replaced. Even the decent substitutes (Nacho and Lucas) are from that time. The rest of them are used to plug gaps, like Mendy, or stick out like a sore thumb. Bale sank into pain and melancholy and Benzema’s move forward has seen him end up being the entire forward line. The rest come in and disappear again, adding nothing. Hazard arrived at 28, he’s now 30 and we’re still waiting.

Real Madrid's chance of signing Haaland and Mbappé

Out there are Haaland and Mbappé, but with all the cranes around the Bernabéu Real Madrid appear to lack the financial muscle to bring them in. Juve paid 100 million euros for Cristiano Ronaldo, for a four year deal. They’ve written off three, so the price should be around 25 or thereabouts. Meaning that unless Haaland or Mbappé really were possible there is a guaranteed goal scorer out there within Real Madrid’s reach. It would be strange, unprecedented even, and his salary would need to be reduced, as Barça would need to to do with Messi. But it’s not unimaginable. I can see Florentino carrying out surveys on whether to do it or not. In our poll, the opinions were divided. Ronaldo plays, of course, in Hazard’s zone of influence, and we’re still waiting for something from the Belgian.