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SOCCER | JUVENTUS

Juventus have a preference if Cristiano Ronaldo leaves

Cristiano Ronaldo is on PSG's radar if Kylian Mbappé moves to Real Madrid, but Juventus would prefer the Portugal captain to move to the Premier League.

Update:
Cristiano Ronaldo celebra un gol anotado con la Juventus.
ALBERTO LINGRIAREUTERS

With just a week to go until the summer transfer window closes Juventus remain nuclear over whether Cristiano Ronaldo will stay in Turin for the 2021-22 season or if a last-minute domino effect across Europe will force the Serie A club’s hand. Kylian Mbappé is the key to the puzzle, the PSG forward holding out until the last minute with a contract offer on the Parc des Princes table in a waiting game involving Real Madrid.

The most likely outcome as things stand is that Ronaldo will see out the final year of his deal at Juventus. Massimiliano Allegri and Pavel Nedved seem satisfied that the Portugal captain will again lead an assault on the Champions League but observers in Italy took his substitute appearance against Udinese as a sign that something is brewing in the background: Ronaldo had not sat out the opening game of a league season when available since 2005 and is a recognized non-adherent of the bench.

Allegri said in pre-season that he would rotate his players but choosing to leave his star forward out of the opening game of the season and given Ronaldo’s impressive cameo – with a disallowed goal included – when he came on smacks of something less straightforward. It would have been instructive to see if Ronaldo had been introduced with Juve 3-0 up instead of 2-1.

Juventus keen on Gabriel Jesus

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ADRIAN DENNISAFP

Sky Sports Italia suggested it was Ronaldo’s decision although it later transpired it was one taken in conference with Allegri with an eye on the transfer market. PSG is the most obvious destination for the Portugal captain, be it this summer or next and entirely dependent on Mbappé, but it is not the only one. With Manchester United’s reported interest yet to crystalize into anything substantial, Manchester City represent the only probable buyers and Juventus see that as their preferred option.

The reason is simple: Juve have identified Gabriel Jesus as the long-term successor to Ronaldo and any deal involving both players would suit all parties.

Pep Guardiola’s pursuit of Harry Kane has hit a dead end and City still have no out-and-out striker in his squad. Ronaldo represents a concrete alternative and while there are question marks over his ability to adapt to a Guardiola style of play AS understands he has been brushing up on club and manager.

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