A headscratcher: Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo gestures during a training session at ‘Cidade do Futebol’ training camp in Oeiras, outskirts of Lisbon, on June 14, 2017 ahead of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup football tournament in Russia
The 32-year-old Ronaldo is said to be livid with his treatment in the wake of last week’s accusation from Madrid’s regional state prosecutor that he committed “tax fraud of €14,768,897 (£12.9m)”. The Real Madrid ace denies all the charges and the paper says that the Portugal international has been “angered and saddened by the claim and the reporting of it in Spain”.
Believing he is the target of a vendetta, Ronaldo has informed Real Madrid of his decision to leave and has ordered his representatives “to find him a new club”. So might that be United?
According to the Sunday Times, the Red Devils would love to welcome him back eight years after they sold him to Real Madrid for a then world record transfer fee of £80m. The paper says that United are “exploring the viability of buying the 32-year-old back”, but they will face stiff competition from Paris Saint-Germain while several Chinese clubs are “ready to substantially improve the terms of his €21m (£18.4m) per annum net salary”.
Ronaldo retains a soft spot for United and according to The Sun he has told his agent, Jorge Mendes, “to do everything possible” to facilitate a return to Old Trafford. The paper confirms that PSG are also interested (as well as Bayern Munich) and says that the French club are “prepared to offer £122m to land him plus a staggering salary of £26m per year”.
Metro throws a fresh angle on the story with its claim that Ronaldo in fact told Alex Ferguson of his intention to leave Real before the tax fraud accusations. The pair keep in contact and Metro says that Ronaldo has become disenchanted with life in Madrid because of the “negative reaction” he receives from a section of the club’s supporters. As for what Real would expect to receive in return for selling Ronaldo, Metro says “a €150m (£131m) bid could be enough”.
But The Sun thinks that even more money could be about to change hands and claims that United are poised to offer Real Madrid “a deal of unbelievable proportions” and one which involves offering the European champions “£183m and David de Gea for Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata”.
The United goalkeeper has long been linked with a return to his homeland, and the Sun says Old Trafford chiefs are ready to make that happen provided they receive Ronaldo and striker Morato in return.