Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is interested in the possibility of returning to Manchester United this summer, Sky Sources understand.
It is understood Ronaldo has requested his agent Jorges Mendes to do everything in his power to make an emotional return to Old Trafford a reality this summer. The Real Madrid forward wants to leave Spain this summer and a source close to the player says United remain very close to his heart.
United do have reservations about signing Ronaldo this summer which centre around the fact that they do not want to be involved in the media circus regarding Ronaldo’s future.
Manchester United sold Ronaldo to Real Madrid in the summer of 2009 for a world-record fee of £80million and they have tried to set up a deal for the Portuguese on a number of occasions most especially in 2013 when David Moyes attempted to take him back to the club.
At the moment, United are wary of being drawn into another transfer saga that could leave them with nothing, a similar situation two years ago when Real Madrid centre-back Sergio Ramos declared he wanted to leave the Santiago Bernabeu only for United to suffer as the Spaniard used that as a bargaining tool to gain an improved contract at Real Madrid. The general feeling around this saga is that Ronaldo will be staying in Madrid.
Ronaldo’s advisors, though, have been told to find him a new club outside Spain. His apparent discontent stems after the 32-year-old forward was accused of evading tax of £13million between 2011 and 2014. He has grown frustrated at the situation that he has reportedly decided to leave the Spanish giants.
There are very few clubs who could afford the Ronaldo’s transfer fee, and his wages. Paris Saint-Germain have held a long-standing interest in the Portuguese forward, and AC Milan’s Chinese owners have been in contact with agent Mendes after Ronaldo’s bombshell.
China is also another option in which clubs hold the financial power to maybe lure Ronaldo away from the Santiago Bernabeu, however, that could prove difficult due to the change in rules regarding the transfer of foreign players to the Chinese Super League which involves a 100% tax.
“Any Chinese club wanting to sign Ronaldo, for say £200m, would also have to pay £200m into a national fund to develop young Chinese players, bringing the total cost of the transfer to £400m – before wages are taken into account.”
– Sky Sports News HQ
Although, it is believed that Ronaldo is very pessimistic about the opportunity to move to China as he would prefer to carry on playing in one of Europe’s top leagues.
A Bola – the Portuguese newspaper that broke the news story claiming Ronaldo wanted to leave Real Madrid last week – are also confirming that the player strongly desires a return to Old Trafford, yet there is a lot of hurdles to be crossed before the transfer of this decade could become a reality.
There are also suggestions that Ronaldo will be content to remain at Real Madrid if the club pay the tax bill he is disputing, amid claims that both his coach Zinedine Zidane and captain Sergio Ramos have phoned the 32-year-old asking to remain at the club.
However, Ronaldo’s bombshell could come as a stumbling block for United with widespread reports suggesting that United have put their summer transfer business on hold with Woodward possibly being enticed by the prospect of striking a deal for Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to the club. Most notably, the potential deal for Alvaro Morata – another Real Madrid forward seeing his future away from the Spanish giants – his agent currently in negotiations with United, while the Spaniard is away on his honeymoon. It would be difficult to imagine Real Madrid wanting to release BOTH Ronaldo and Morata, though former CNN reporter Ben Fairthorne , below, quickly dismissed the notion.
To back that up, reports in the Mirror claim that United will treat Morata’s deal as a separate negotiation with any potential Cristiano Ronaldo talks.
The total cost and complicated nature of any potential deal for Ronaldo’s services are also making United wary of becoming embroiled in a transfer saga that would overshadow their preparations for the new season.
Up until the weekend, it seemed as though United were close to reaching an agreement with Real Madrid for Alvaro Morata who were holding out for a fee close to £80million which would make the forward the most expensive Spanish player of all time, but now that Cristiano Ronaldo has thrown a spanner in the works, a potential deal for Morata could take a little while longer.
What do this debacle mean for Mourinho who is known to be a shrewd operator in the Transfer market with most of his deals most likely being done before pre-season kicks off at the beginning of July. United, understandably, have been drawn into flirtation with a player who made his name in front of the Old Trafford faithful, but the Old Trafford club cannot become distracted from their pursuit for fellow team-mate Alvaro Morata – with Zlatan Ibrahimovic being released because of a serious knee injury, United are desperate to find a replacement quickly and Morata certainly fits the bill. As far as targets go, Ronaldo is a dream. Morata is a reality.
Moreover, Morata can certainly leave a longer and lasting impression.
Ronaldo is in the bracket of superstar signings Woodward dreams of delivering to investors on the New York stock exchange – a list which also includes Gareth Bale, Neymar and Thomas Muller.
So far these moves have come up with nothing.
Which is why Woodward – and Jose Mourinho – will be cautious in what will prove to be a pivotal summer for United. A summer in which the club have already suffered a disappointment with Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann declaring that he would rather stay in Madrid than go for pastures new at Old Trafford – a supposed dream signing for Mourinho this summer which has seemingly failed.
United must remain super cautious if they are to pursue Ronaldo’s services this summer. It is understood Mourinho is searching for a specific type of striker and maybe Ronaldo doesn’t fit the bill, even both countrymen sharing the same agent in Jorge Mendes. Morata is the main target and he should remain the no.1 man to replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic and maybe Wayne Rooney, two of the greats in the game. Admittedly, Rooney’s decline has weakened the impact of his own departure, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s absence is sure to be more keenly felt at the club. Twenty-eight goals, an imposing playing style and the big-game mentality craves and all so searching for this summer.
In Morata, United will have a forward they would aim to build their attack around. Few managers are as appreciative and reliant on a bullish-type centre-forward who is also mobile, and if there was one weakness in Ibrahimovic’s game is that he lacked the required speed and mobility to trigger devastating counter-attacks, a trait that Mourinho has become massively associated with over they years. Ronaldo offers slightly more in that respect – but for how much longer?
By contrast, Morata is a thoroughly modern breed of striker; at 6’2 he is physical presence that defenders will struggle to deal with, but he is also blessed with pace and clever movement. Many will question the huge sum that is required to secure his services, a player who was predominately used as a substitute last season behind the likes of Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, a player who only has 40 career league goals, but he is the exact profile of forward that Mourinho desires and has used to such great effect in the past. Benzema, Drogba, Diego Costa, Zlatan and Diego Milito to name a few.
But how will the Old Trafford faithful react if Mourinho does not pursue a deal to bring Ronaldo back home?
A question Woodward will certainly be asking himself as the summer progresses.
In a summer when Woodward has been tasked with the responsibility of delivering four key summer signings – Ronaldo not included – he can ill-afford to be distracted by a wild goose chase. That happened under Moyes when failed moves for Gareth Bale, Ronaldo, Thiago of Bayern Munich and Cesc Fabregas ultimately resulted in a deadline-day swoop for Marouane Fellaini.
Ahead of a season, where Mourinho is expected to deliver an even bigger success with the Premier league and Champions League to fight for, he does not want anything to get in the way of his transfer business. At the same time, Woodward would loathe to see his ultimate target sign somewhere else.
Ronaldo is the complete modern footballer. He is a commercial dream that United would reap benefits in any realistic outlay. Ronaldo is also a game-changer, a match winner in the most important of matches as his double against Juventus in the UEFA Champions League final showed.
Ronaldo is the focal-point of Madrid’s current era of Champions League domination – the antidote to the modern idea of the influence of the super coach.
But lets face it. As stated previously, Ronaldo is the dream. Alvaro Morata is the reality. United can ill-afford to dwindle upon a fairy-tale as their rivals secure their own long-term targets. Ronaldo’s latest bombshell could be all a ploy for his own end at Madrid, it is why Woodward must restore his focus on securing a World-class talent such as Alvaro Morata. A player, who could hold down the United no.9 shirt for a decade. He is the signing they need, not a pipe dream they don’t.