Messi to PSG, Mbappe to Real Madrid, Kane to Manchester City, Ronaldo to….Manchester United?
Football’s summer transfer window has been lit up by a number of mega-money deals – be it confirmed signings or pure speculation.
But as Friday ticks on, the rumours over Cristiano Ronaldo’s future suggest that the Juventus frontman is almost certain to leave Turin.
The 36-year-old attended training at the Italian club for just 45 minutes this morning, with rumours suggesting he appeared simply to say goodbye to his teammates and staff. He then boarded a private jet bound for Lisbon.
Max Allegri, the Juventus manager, has confirmed that CR7 told him he had ‘no intention’ of staying at the club beyond August, and so the vultures have been circling ever since.
Manchester City were odds-on with many bookmakers to sign the attacker, but a manic Friday continues at pace with the club now stating that they have ended their interest in signing him.
And now the pendulum has swung in a similar direction, with Manchester United now odds-on to snare the five-time Ballon d’Or winner. Ronaldo spent six happy seasons at Old Trafford, winning three Premier League titles and the Champions League in 2007/08.
His signing would be met rapturously by supporters, although the money men and women will have to find a way to stump up £500,000 per week in wages without falling foul of FFP.
But according to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, United are very much in the box seat to sign their former hero.
“We’ve always had good communication. I know Bruno [Fernandes] has been talking to him as well and he knows what we feel about him, and if he was ever going to move away from Juventus, he knows that we are here.”
The King of Manchester
Six seasons, 292 appearances, 118 goals, nine trophies.
Picking out the highlights from Ronaldo’s first spell at Manchester United is very difficult – such was his magnificence throughout.
But plenty of United fans will remember the first time that he announced himself to be a player of true quality – the 2003/04 FA Cup final.
After taking a bit of a kicking from the Millwall defenders, Ronaldo showed that he was no shrinking violet by continuing to demand the ball, and he opened the scoring in his first cup final on English soil. United went on to win 3-0, and the birth of a dynasty was witnessed by all those in attendance.
If you cast your mind back to the summer of 2006, you might recall CR7 being a naughty winker in the World Cup – his histrionics getting Manchester United teammate Wayne Rooney sent off in the quarter-final between Portugal and England.
It was awkward to say the least when Ronaldo returned to English soil, but showing his trademark character he rolled up his sleeves and got on with business, netting 26 goals in a 2006/07 campaign that ended with a first Premier League winner’s medal.
The best was yet to come. In 2007/08, Ronaldo scored an astonishing 42 goals in all competitions – a tally that has never been bettered in the modern era. His brilliance took United to the Premier League, Champions League, Club World Cup and Community Shield titles, and it’s hard to imagine a player ever having such a major influence in a single campaign ever again.
It would all end in tears when he joined Real Madrid in 2009, but Ronaldo is ensured a hero’s welcome if – or when – he makes his return to Old Trafford.