Cristiano Ronaldo’s second spell at Manchester United could be coming to an imminent end with the Red Devils poised to take action in the wake of his interview criticising the club.
The PA news agency understands talks have begun between United and Ronaldo’s representatives over the Portugal international’s future at Old Trafford, where he is under contract until next summer.
With the 37-year-old’s time at the Premier League giants seemingly heading to a rapid close, the PA news agency looks at five possible options for the new year.
While it never got beyond initial conversations over the summer, Chelsea sounded Ronaldo out about a potential switch that the forward was reportedly open to. Former Blues boss Thomas Tuchel was not thought to be keen on the switch but he is long gone and with successor Graham Potter suffering a rocky start at Stamford Bridge, the idea could once again appeal to Todd Boehly’s ownership group. Money should not be a major stumbling block and if the opportunity arose, the chance to end his Premier League journey on a high could be irresistible.
Ronaldo became a global star during his first period with United but it was Sporting that helped cultivate his early talent. He has regularly been linked with a return to the club he left aged 18 and retains a strong connection with the Primeira Liga side, who have a section dedicated to him in their museum and renamed their academy training facilities after him. The player’s mother, Dolores Aveiro, has previously said she wants to eventually see him back playing for the Lisbon club.
Dropping into the Europa League may not be Ronaldo’s first preference and Roma’s current league position of seventh means a league trophy looks a long shot. But the presence of compatriot Jose Mourinho in the dugout could be intriguing. The pair enjoyed great success together at Real Madrid, harbour similar frustrations about their treatment by United and may decide to put their star power together in one last roll of the dice.
When Ronaldo last appeared to be on the way out of Old Trafford over the summer, none of Europe’s elite swooped. A swathe of names were mentioned as potential destinations but the only offer came from Saudi Arabia. It is reported that Al Hilal were the club who approached Ronaldo about a potential two-year deal worth 275million euros (£233.4million). That was not attractive enough then but perhaps things are different now.
Major League Soccer
A number of European football’s biggest names have taken up the option of seeing out their days in the United States, with the likes of David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney among them. Ronaldo’s A-list status would make him the kind of draw that could pull serious commercial interest in MLS and the lifestyle across the Atlantic would hardly put off a player who long ago became a crossover celebrity. LAFC, LA Galaxy and Beckham’s Inter Miami have all been touted as potential suitors.