Manchester United fans have been spoilt with two soap operas this summer, the cases of Frenkie de Jong and Cristiano Ronaldo, with the latter occupying more column inches this summer than the Conservative party leadership contest and Christine McGuinness combined.
The Portuguese legend is reportedly begging United to let him go, but go where? His desire is to play in the Champions League, but every Champions League club big enough to satisfy his ambitions has already ruled out a move.
The Sun mysteriously claims that agent Jorge Mendes does have an offer on the table and is asking United to come up with a transfer fee, while the Red Devils are reportedly refusing to sell.
This seems a little unlikely for reasons we discussed in an article yesterday.
A perhaps more reliable source than The Sun, The Athletic, claims that Sporting Lisbon could be an option despite Ronaldo himself having dismissed links a few days ago as “fake news”.
“A possibility would be a pay-off from the United hierarchy to free him to choose any other club — perhaps an emotional return to Sporting Lisbon, where he could play in the Champions League and have at least six more games to stretch his records in that competition,” the outlet reports.
The same source goes into some depth as to why a move to either Madrid club – Real or Atletico – seems unlikely despite La Liga president Javier Tebas suggesting that the latter should move heaven and earth to sign him.
🎙️ Javier Tebas: "I would like to see Cristiano Ronaldo in La Liga. Whether it is feasible or not for Atlético Madrid. To make room for a player of this level, some players have to give up their place." pic.twitter.com/GlU5w2riRn
— Football Tweet ⚽ (@Football__Tweet) July 28, 2022
The Athetic claims that “His former Spanish club Real Madrid were never an option. Ronaldo … never really seemed happy there.
“Many Real fans never took him fully into their hearts … He was even whistled regularly at the Bernabeu.
“His relationship with Blancos club president Florentino Perez had deteriorated completely by the time of his exit for Juventus in summer 2019.
“The Portuguese also never seemed completely comfortable in the Spanish capital, and felt personally persecuted when he was found guilty of tax issues soon before he left.”
The outlet is less adamant that the Atleti deal, one pushed incessantly by Mendes who has a good relationship with the Rojiblancos, won’t happen. However, it is noted that they already need to raise €40 million to register two other new players before even thinking about Ronaldo.
The Athletic don’t believe The Times’ report that Antoine Griezmann will be offloaded, but do note that “Joao Felix … could bring in big money, and the young Portuguese’s relationship with Simeone has not always been so smooth.
“Mendes was involved in Joao Felix’s arrival back in 2019, and will have a long-term career plan for the next Portuguese superstar.”
Atletico’s president has ruled out a CR7 move many times, the Colchoneros’ fans are organising massive protests against the deal and United are reportedly refusing to sell. But the reports persist, almost as if Mendes and Ronaldo believe they can make the move happen with sheer force of will.
Meanwhile, ESPN believes an MLS move could be on the cards, but this seems unlikely at this stage. That romantic return to Sporting seems a better bet, but even that seems more likely in one or two years’ time as a swansong. Right now, Ronaldo believes he is still fit enough and strong enough to play for a team that can genuinely challenge for major honours.
The fact remains that if the Portuguese is that desperate to leave Old Trafford and there genuinely is a club waiting to sign him, he is well capable financially of buying himself out of his Old Trafford contract and doing what he likes. That would seem the most likely outcome at this stage, but the prevarication could drag on for a few more weeks before the situation is resolved.
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