Reports from Portugal are offering the strongest indication yet that Cristiano Ronaldo has already arranged to return to his home country after the World Cup.
Since July, Ronaldo has made no secret of the fact he wants to leave Manchester United despite having a contract that lasts until July 2023.
The Peoples Person reported on Sunday morning that the 37 year old may have played his last game for the club.
This appeared to be confirmed later that day when talk show host Piers Morgan released extracts from an interview with Ronaldo in which the legendary striker criticised United, the manager, players, former player and fans, seemingly burning down all bridges to any further participation at Old Trafford.
“SAPO Desporto knows that the Portuguese international has just enrolled his children at Saint Julians College, in Carcavelos,” the outlet reports.
“In addition, the star of the Portugal team has bought a mansion in Cascais and has already hired all the staff to help with the housework.
“Nothing is known about Cristiano Ronaldo’s future yet, but a return to Portugal to represent his Sporting, the club that formed him, is not to be ruled out.
“This is, at least, one of the wishes of his mother, Dolores Aveiro, as well as Ronaldo himself, who admitted to wanting to end his career with the Lions.”
The acquisition of a mansion in Cascais, some 30km from Lisbon, does not itself mean much given the number of properties Ronaldo already owns in the country. However, it must be said that enrolling his children in a local school is a much stronger indication of his intentions.
A return to Sporting is probably the most likely next move for Ronaldo, even though they have not qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League.
The Lisbon side were doing well at the start of the season and the addition of Ronaldo might have been considered disruptive. However, they are now struggling in fourth place in the Liga Portuguesa, behind Braga, and his return could now be just the spark they need to push on for a place in next season’s Champions League.
That, in turn, would grant Ronaldo his wish to play in that tournament again as he continues his battle with Lionel Messi to be all-time leading goalscorer.
The only stumbling block to the move would be Ronaldo’s wages. Francisco Trincão, on €153,000 per week, is the only player at the club whose salary exceeds €40,000.
This is a far cry from Ronaldo’s current €585,000 per week.