Hot on the heels of David Beckham’s celebrated move to LA Galaxy comes news that Ronaldo may be the next shooting star from the dimming “galacticos” that is Real Madrid.

According to Sports Illustrated online, Ronaldo is said to be in the sights of Italian giant AC Milan after Real Madrid coach Fabio Capello said he no longer wanted Ronaldo in the team.

The three-time world footballer of the year has been the subject of transfer speculation for some time, with Madrid rejecting a $US28.4 million bid for the striker from AC Milan last August.

Should the ageing superstar fulfil expectations and leave the Bernabeu this time around, it would signal further upheaval at the club which has become synonymous with the excesses of European football.

The make-up of Madrid’s squad has changed markedly in the space of just 18 months, with Portugal’s Luis Figo and France maestro Zinedine Zidane among the other big names who have since moved on from life in the Spanish capital.

Despite all this, the club remains well in contention to capture its 30th league title, as it sits just two points adrift of Primera Liga leaders Sevilla FC and equal on points with powerhouse Barcelona (who have a game in hand).

Club president Ramon Calderon will no doubt be sweating on the outcome of the club’s title tilt, with his tenuous hold on the presidency looking increasingly shaky amid accusations of voting irregularities at last summer’s elections.

The pressure is clearly getting to Calderon, who launched an extraordinary outburst levelled at Beckham, describing the former England captain as “half an actor” who had run off to Hollywood because “no other football club wanted him”.

There is no doubt one of the biggest clubs in world football is undergoing a massive transformation following the exit of some of the game’s brightest stars in recent times. With no trophies to show for all its marquee names over the past three years, it’s probably not a bad thing.

But when the club president talks of a current player the way he did of Beckham (the Englishman is still contracted by and training with Real Madrid) you are left to wonder how he will go about convincing other ego-driven young stars that Real Madrid is the team for them.

Peter Fray

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