Cristiano Ronaldo keeps his eye on the ball against Atletico Madrid
Romantic Manchester United fans and tabloid sports editors have been dealt a blow after Jose Mourinho ruled out a move for Old Trafford idol Cristiano Ronaldo.
There were rumours of a deal earlier this summer after allegations of tax fraud prompted speculation that the Portuguese superstar was unhappy in Spain.
But speaking after United beat LA Galaxy 5-2 on their tour of the US Mourinho described any possible transfer as “mission impossible” and said he would be letting his club down if he wasted his time pursuing the 32-year-old forward, who left United for Madrid in 2009.
“We have not been able to find a reason that could have made us think that Ronaldo could leave,” he added.
It means “United fans will have to put on hold their dreams of a romantic return of a player they still adore”, says Jamie Jackson of The Guardian.
And any lingering hopes of a move have been further squashed by former Real Madrid stars, Michel Salgado and Fernando Morientes.
Salgado, a two-time Champions League winner with Madrid, believes Ronaldo will either see out his career at the Bernabeu or move to the US, reports Goal.com.
He said the Portuguese was “comfortable” in Madrid and would not move. “He is our soul, he is the guy that we all look to when we are playing the big games, and to be honest I think he is going to stay,” he said.
Morientes, who has three Champions League winners medals, echoed that sentiment, and dismissed talk of an exit, says The Sun.
“I am pretty sure that Cristiano is happy at Real Madrid, and Real Madrid is happy with Cristiano,” he said.
The Times agrees. It says: “The claim that he wants to depart is thought to be a tactic to earn a new contract or get help from the club in fighting his tax avoidance case.”