Who Should Real Madrid Sell: Cristiano Ronaldo or Gareth Bale?


Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bales are two of football’s brightest stars and play for one of the world’s brightest clubs in Real Madrid. However, rumors are swirling that Los Blancos may be forced to sell one star or the other in the upcoming transfer window.

Let’s break down the debate of which one the Spanish giants should part with.

The Case For Selling Cristiano Ronaldo:

Ronaldo has been a brilliant player for Real Madrid and his accomplishments are almost too many to list. He is undoubtedly one of the world’s top handful of players and has been for several years. He still performs at an extremely high level today for his club with a Whoscored.com rating of 7.68. He still is a nightmare for opposing defenders and has put up eight goals in just 11 matches on the young season.

All of that is great, but Ronaldo is getting older. He turned 30 in May and while that isn’t old by most people’s standards, it’s starting to get long in the tooth for an attacking player in La Liga. He hasn’t shown too many signs of breaking down as of yet, but he likely only has a year or two left in his prime. Contrast that with Bale, who is just 26, and it slides the scale heavily towards selling CR7.

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Selling Ronaldo also would allow quite a bit more freedom to the rest of Real Madrid’s players. When you watch them play week-in and week-out you can see his teammates deferring to him on the pitch. Whether it is the decision of who is going to take a set piece or just where to play a simple pass his teammates constantly feel his pull. I don’t blame him for being a selfish player at times, but it does have a tangible effect on his squad. He is the sun, that all of the other planets rotate around for Real Madrid.

Shipping him off in a record-breaking deal might lead to a more egalitarian Real Madrid. Much in the same way that Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez share the load for Barcelona, James Rodriguez, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema could do for Los Blancos. There is something to be said for democracy over dictatorship in football, and selling Ronaldo would be a step forward for his teammates. Again, I don’t blame him for being selfish. He’s a brilliant generational footballer. It just could benefit the team to be more diverse in their attack.

Selling Ronaldo might be the most lucrative of the two options as well. His value isn’t just on the pitch, it’s also off the pitch for whatever club might purchase him. He is one of the world’s most well-known and marketable athletes. His acquisition would mean millions in off the field revenue for the club that purchases him. As such, Madrid can charge an insane price for him. They could command a transfer fee that would exceed the GDP of a small nation.

Selling a player like Cristiano Ronaldo wouldn’t be easy for Real Madrid. He’s an immensely popular and talented player. However, the potential profit on the sale of a 30-year-old attacker might be too much to resist even for Real Madrid.

The Case for Selling Gareth Bale:

While Ronaldo has the greater reputation, Bale has been statistically as good for Real Madrid this season. His Whoscored.com rating only trails his teammate by .03 which is a negligible difference at best. Despite all the rhetoric about Bale not being able to fit in with Real Madrid, it hasn’t shown up on the pitch very often. He is arguably a top-10 player in the world.

He isn’t Ronaldo though. His marketability for the club hasn’t been the same and his social fit with the club has been an ever-present question. Even if he doesn’t have any issues with his teammates, it’s pretty clear that he hasn’t been fully embraced by them. Whereas Ronaldo is the unquestioned leader of the squad, Bale struggles to fully fit in. Selling the Welsh wide-man would be much less traumatic for the team and its fans.

His fee would also be immense. While he isn’t as valuable to most clubs off the pitch as CR7. He could be even more valuable to an English Premier League club like Manchester United. There is a premium associated with being Welsh in this instance. He is more valuable off the field to an English club than he is to a Spanish club. Given the influx of Premier League TV dollars, this could have a huge financial impact.

It’s also fair to question whether or not Bale will ever truly settle in at Real Madrid. They have Spanish-speaking options at his position in Rodriguez and Isco already. It’s easier for these players to assimilate into their culture than Bale. If you believe there talent level is close to Bale’s, then why not opt for them instead?

Selling a player with the talent of Gareth Bale is never easy a decision. If you make the move to sell him over Ronaldo, it has to come down to his struggle to fully integrate himself into the club.

So Who Do You Sell?

Ultimately, you have to sell Ronaldo if you are Real Madrid. Both players have spectacular talent, but at 26, Bale is much more likely to continue his form over the next several years. Economically, I think that the fee for both players would be pretty similar so they’d be wise to take advantage of Ronaldo’s fee at its height. If they wait longer to move CR7, his value could plummet.