FOOTBALL

Real Madrid close door on wantaway Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo

La Gazzetta dello Sport report that Cristiano is considering a move to Manchester United after Madrid rejected talk of a potential return.

"Will Cristiano come back? No. He has a contract with Juventus. It wouldn't make sense for him to come back. I love him very much, he has given us a lot." There was affection and also, denial. From the set of El Chiringuito, Florentino Pérez closed the option of a possible return for Cristiano Ronaldo to the Spanish capital, who according to La Gazzetta dello Sport is already studying other options ahead of a potential move away from Juventus.

Difficult year for Cristiano

According to the Italian newspaper, Cristiano is happy in Turin, but not fully happy. This season has been really difficult for the Serie A giants, as they have lost their long reign in Italy, which will end with nine consecutive league titles, and crashed out of Europe earlier than expected, losing to Porto in the round of 16. On a contractual level, he earns a life-changing salary and tax benefits unmatched by other countries, but, even so, he will continue to look for a way out.

The club has publicly shown its intention to keep the veteran forward, but opinions in Italy suggest that the marriage should break up for the good of both parties. Juve would free up an enormous part of their wage bill and be able to reshape the squad, while Cristiano would move on and start afresh.

The new destination might not be just that new. According to this newspaper, Cristiano Ronaldo would have asked his agent, Jorge Mendes, to ask Manchester United about a possible return to the club that was his home from 2003 to 2009. A departure that has been discussed after Florentino's definitive no during the week, since Real Madrid was his first choice. Manchester United was the plan B.

At Old Trafford, Solskjaer's doors are publicly open, but they have to balance the accounts. The club is still looking for a big star and returning to Cristiano would be a fantastic story that could also offer a good return. The numbers will be another story in accounts hit hard by the pandemic. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the star would be willing to lower his salary from the current €31 million to a figure in the region of €20 million. United would have to see if it is acceptable considering that several well-valued players are heading for the exits and could offer income to cover such an operation that appears complicated.

Good numbers, little success

32 goals in 38 games. Time is running out for Cristiano Ronaldo, but even so, his goalscoring record is still more than remarkable at 36 years of age. The Madeira-born player has scored goals, but the team has not performed as well as in previous years, causing widespread frustration and putting the striker in the spotlight, partly blaming him for Juventus' failure to meet either of its two major objectives. There is still the Italian Cup against Atalanta to look forward to, in what could be a sweet end to Turin.

Manchester United in market for striker

At United he fits for many reasons and performance is one of them. No one can expect a five-year contract or ten years of goals, but the short-term impact could be immediate. In the Red Devils' current first-team squad, no player comes close to that figure and only Bruno Fernandes maintains an elite goalscoring level, but he is not a striker. Those 30 goals could make the difference between current second place and closing in on Manchester City in the title race, and he also seems to have a place reserved up front... Old Trafford and Cristiano are dreaming together again... now it's time for it to become a reality.