Just when it seemed as though Cristiano Ronaldo was going to leave Juventus and join Manchester City, a dramatic turn of events now means that the 36-year-old is closing in on a return to former club Manchester United.
Twelve years after the Portuguese forward left Manchester United to join Real Madrid, and roughly 18 hours after he seemed set to become a Manchester City player, a return to Old Trafford is now on the cards for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
The journalist Fabrizio Romano has reported that Manchester United have made an official bid for Cristiano Ronaldo, while Goal’s Juventus correspondent Romeo Agresti claims that the Red Devils have made an offer of 28 million euros.
This comes after La Gazzetta dello Sport declared that a fee in the region of 25-30 million euros would likely see Cristiano Ronaldo join Manchester City, but now the same fee is set to be enough for Manchester United to bring him back to the club.
The reasoning for Juventus wanting to receive this fee is because it is the amount that they still owe to Real Madrid from his 112 million euro move to the club in 2018. In addition, freeing up Cristiano Ronaldo’s 31 million euro a year salary will benefit the club financially as they look to rebuild.
Despite Manchester City being given the option of signing Cristiano Ronaldo and showing an initial interest in the deal, they decided to back out on Friday, clearing the path for Manchester United to have a clear run at their former No.7.
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke to the press on Friday about Cristiano Ronaldo’s possible return, admitting that the forward’s Portugal teammate Bruno Fernandes had been speaking to him about his future.
“I didn’t think Cristiano was going to end up leaving Juventus,” Solskjaer said.
“It’s been speculation this morning, speculation the last few days, of course.
“We’ve always had a good communication – I know Bruno has been talking to him as well. He knows what we feel about him and if he was ever going to move away from Juventus, he knows that we’re here.”
Solskjaer was also asked if he would like to make a move to his ex-teammate.
“Cristiano has been a legend of this club, he is a legend of this club – he’s the greatest player of all time if you ask me,” he added.
“I was fortunate enough to play with him, I coached him when I got my job. He almost retired me because that Wolverhampton game when I got injured, he kept switching sides.
“He’s such a tremendous human being as well, so let’s see what happens with Cristiano. Everyone who has played with him, I think, has a soft spot for him.”
Despite his age, Ronaldo has kept himself in peak physical condition all through his career and is coming off the back of a season in which he scored 36 goals in 44 matches in all competitions for Juventus.
His record over his whole time in Turin is impressive, as he netted 101 goals in 134 matches while winning two Serie A titles a Coppa Italia and two Supercoppas Italiana.
Ronaldo arrived at Old Trafford in 2003 from Sporting CP as a youngster and left for Real Madrid in 2009 for 94 million euros. Under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson, Cristiano developed massively as a player, scoring 118 goals in 292 matches and winning three Premier League titles, two League Cups, one Community Shield, one Champions League, one Club World Cup, a Golden Boot and the Ballon d’Or.
He received a fantastic reception from the United faithful in 2013 when Real Madrid faced the Red Devils in the Champions League last 16, and eight years on he will be a welcome addition to Solskjaer’s side.
Cristiano Ronaldo is a guarantee of goals and the thought of him linking up with the likes of Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes is a mouth-watering prospect for fans.
Along with the summer signings of Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho, the addition of Cristiano Ronaldo could round off a fantastic summer for the club.
Manchester United are now the firm favourites to sign him from Juventus, which will excite their supporters immensely as they look to improve on their second-place finish in the Premier League last season and win their first league title since 2013.