Home » Cristiano Ronaldo’s Champions League chances dwindle on Manchester United return

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Champions League chances dwindle on Manchester United return

by David O'Neill

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to discuss his future with Manchester United this week.

It will be the first face-to-face he has had with anyone at the club since last season, following his failure to report for preseason training.

And The Athletic has reported that his prospects of playing Champions League football for a 20th consecutive season are dwindling.

According to journalist Ajay Rose, Europe’s top competition was among Ronaldo’s reasons for pushing for a move.

With United having “made a commitment of around £60m to sign Ronaldo,” they are insistent that their talisman is not for sale.

But despite his return of 18 league goals last season and his huge marketing appeal, there appears to be very little serious interest in Ronaldo.

Todd Boehly, the new owner at Chelsea, held discussions over the Portuguese captain with super-agent Jorge Mendes, but Thomal Tuchel was quick to veto a potential move, opting for Raheem Sterling as he looks to create a fluid attack.

Atletico Madrid have been unable to generate the funds required to make a move for anybody, much less a player in Ronaldo’s wage bracket.

While they love an experienced striker, the two they have in Antoine Griezmann and Alvaro Morata don’t seem to be going anywhere.

Oliver Kahn, CEO of FC Bayern Munich, was quick to dismiss thoughts of a transfer that “wouldn’t be a fit with our philosophy.”

Their manager Julian Nagelsemann also played down rumours of his interest as “not true,” despite having just lost Robert Lewandowski.

The only other Champions League club with mooted interest is SSC Napoli, with the third-place Serie A side having just lost Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens this summer.

But despite their obvious need for goal-renumeration, there has been no signs that an official bid is on the way.

Even if Ronaldo took the 30% pay cut on his £475,000 weekly salary that agent Jorge Mendes has reportedly made available, his wages would still dwarf the £112,000-a-week that joint highest earners Hirving Lozano and Victor Osimhen are on in Naples, which would be a very good reason for the Italian side to keep their distance.

With Serie A salary capping meaning that Italian sides generally have to now have a more frugal approach, a return to Juventus or a move to AC Milan looks unlikely, while the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham, Inter Milan, Borussia Dortmund and FC Barcelona have already signed big money strikers.

Unless Ajax and RB Leipzig fancy taking a sledgehammer to their transfer strategy any time soon, it does not seem that any club with realistic prospects of getting to the Champions League knockout stages is likely for Ronaldo.

If Ronaldo really wants to play Champions League football, he may have to swap UEFA for AFC and consider a Saudi Arabian offer.

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