Manchester United are the only club in England Cristiano Ronaldo would sign for, a source close to the player has revealed.
The future of the Real Madrid forward has been the subject of intense speculation in recent days after the player reportedly told the European champions he wanted to leave the club this summer – with a return to the Premier League his preference.
United, whom the player left for £80million in the summer of 2009, are the obvious candidates to sign him, though a report in the last couple of days has also suggested Manchester City could launch a surprise bid for his services, while Chelsea have also been touted as potential suitors in the past.
And amid reports the player is also wanted by PSG and by ambitious clubs in China, Ronaldo’s advisors, however, have made it clear that the 32-year-old’s sole Premier League option would be Old Trafford is he were to move back to England.
“To go back to England there is only one club,” a close friend told The Daily Record. “Cristiano has to respect his past.”
With United expected to sign at least one big-name striker this summer, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has come out to defend the player’s actions in the wake of allegations he is the subject of a tax probe from Spanish authorities.
“I know Cristiano, he’s a good guy as a professional and as a person. This is very strange and in the next few days I’ll talk to him,” Perez said.
“I must defend him at all costs, both as a player and as a person. What I will say is that everyone must fulfil their tax obligations. I have no doubt that Cristiano will be able to defend himself.
“What they have told me is that he has the same financial arrangements as he had in England, where he had no problems.”
Portugal coach defends Ronaldo
Meanwhile, Portugal’s coach Fernando Santos has defended the player and insists he remains “extremely concentrated” on helping his country deliver the required result when they tackle Confederations Cup hosts Russia in Moscow.
“I’m going to answer in Portuguese and I tell you that tomorrow we have a very important game. All the players are concentrated and Cristiano Ronaldo is extremely concentrated with the Russian game tomorrow, which we will play,” Santos said at a press conference, where he was asked to address Ronaldo’s situation and reply in English.
Defender Pepe also faced the media in the official FIFA press conference ahead of Wednesday’s match.
The 34-year-old, who is out of contract at Real Madrid and has been linked with a free transfer to Paris St Germain, sees no reason why Ronaldo should not again be relied upon to lead his country.
“We are professionals. We are just thinking about doing our best in the Confederations Cup and to go as far as we can in this tournament,” Pepe said when asked whether the situation over Portugal’s talisman had impacted on the group.
“It is the first time Portugal plays in it, so it is a privilege for us all to be here.
“And as for Cristiano, he is one player who is completely motivated to help Portugal, as he has always done.”