Sporting CP’s president Federico Varandas has spoken out about rumours linking his team with Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo is unhappy at Manchester United and is looking to leave in the January transfer window. An explosive interview due to be aired tonight has made his position at the club almost intenable, having declared he has “no respect” for manager Erik ten Hag.
Meanwhile, rumours have been rife of a return to Sporting, the club where he started his professional career. Reports claim that he has enrolled his children in a local school and acquired a new mansion in nearby Cascais.
And whilst Sporting ruled themselves out of the race for the megastar at the start of the season, they are now struggling in fourth place in the Liga Portuguesa and his return could be exactly they need to push on for a place in next season’s Champions League.
In an in-depth interview on RTP3 (via O Jogo) on a wide range of topics, the first question posed to the president of the Lisbon side was whether the club would be re-signing the 37 year old.
“About Cristiano Ronaldo, it is important to preserve the historic and unique legacy that Ronaldo will leave to world sport, whether you like it or not,” Varandas said.
“I see Cristiano Ronaldo as the best Portuguese footballer of all time, one of the best in world football. He’ll always be the flagship of Sporting. The Academy bears his name. We are proud to have trained the best Portuguese player of all time.
“Since the beginning of the season, my coach has been bombarded. There are those rumours, those soap operas that are created, but there has never been anything strictly.
“Out of respect for Ronaldo, Manchester United and the National Team, I will not feed any soap operas.”
The words seem carefully chosen and do not rule out Ronaldo’s return, which would have been easy to do.
To say your coach has been “bombarded” with questions and yet fail to put the issue to bed is an odd state of affairs if there really is no chance of a return.
Furthermore, the last sentence, made – “out of respect for … Manchester United and the national team”, hints at the timing of the interview.
Why would it affect United and, in particular, the national team if Varandas were to say he is interested in signing Ronaldo? It does speak of activity in the near future, perhaps the January transfer window, which is the only reason it might affect Portugal, being close to the World Cup.
Pure speculation of course, but it is fair to say that the circumstantial evidence linking Ronaldo to a historic return to the Lions is certainly accumulating.