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Brazilian Star Ronaldo set to leave Real Madrid

by Thomas Jensen on Monday, January 15th, 2007

Ronaldo's Real Madrid career could well be drawing to an end, with the possibility that he will leave the Spanish giants before the transfer window closes.  Plagued by injury and criticized for being overweight, Ronaldo has been a shadow of his former self this season and has netted just four times since returning to action at the end of September.

It could also be that he will be the first high profile casualty of Monday's emergency meeting between Real Madrid Coach Fabio Capello, Sporting Director Predrag Mijatovic, President Ramon Calderon and Technical Secretary Franco Baldini.

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The meeting was called to discuss Real's poor form of late. The team has lost three of their last five league matches including last Sunday's 2-0 defeat at Deportivo La Coruna.  Luckily this Sunday they were able to pull off an unconvincing 1-0 win over Zaragoza.

The specifics of the meeting have not been made public but Mijatovic claimed afterwards that they highlighted the problem areas and had implemented measures to deal with them.  One of those measures is most likely to be the dismissal of 30 year old Ronaldo, a £29 million transfer from Internazionale in 2002. Coach Capello has not openly criticized Ronaldo, but actions could speak louder than words in this case with the Brazilian being omitted from almost all Real Madrid competition similar to David Beckham.

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When asked directly on Wednesday if he had a problem with Ronaldo, Capello said:”I don't like to single anybody out. Win or lose, it's a team affair and I head the entire project.”

Regardless of that, Spanish media believe Ronaldo is living on borrowed time at the Bernabeu. Marca, the superstar’s agency claims he has two offers on the table from interested clubs, one from Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad and another from a European side, presumably Newcastle United.

Ronaldo's contract with Real Madrid runs out in 2008 but, with the Spanish side already building for the future by bringing in new blood such as former River Plate striker Gonzalo Higuain, the three time FIFA World Player of the Year could decide to cut his losses at the Bernabeu long before then and move on to other options.  Rumor has it he could also land on MLS soil to help attract more attention to a surging American League.  The rumor is that the New York Red Bulls are interested in bringing Ronaldo in to help boost sales similar to what the LA Galaxy did with David Beckham.

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