Juan Mata believes it would be “difficult” for Manchester United to re-sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid this summer.
According to the Daily Mail, it is ‘inevitable’ that Ronaldo will leave Real at the end of the season, with the capital club keen to recoup as much of the £80million they paid for the 30-year-old six years ago.
It will only increase speculation that Ronaldo could return to Old Trafford, but Mata is not holding his breath.
“I think it’s difficult for that to happen, in truth,” Mata told Goal in an exclusive interview.
“The respect and admiration that the people have for Cristiano (in Manchester) is incredible. You see it at the training ground, at the stadium, with so many photos of when he won all those titles there and did so well on a personal level as well.
“But it’s complicated with him at a club like Real Madrid and happy there, which I think he is. He is a player who makes the difference in any league, obviously. But as it’s very complicated at the moment, I prefer to focus on the players who are here, on playing well and achieving the club’s objectives.”
Ronaldo is said to be unhappy with Rafael Benitez’s coaching methods and tactics in charge of Real, but Mata has nothing but praise for a man that he played under at Valencia.
“I had a fantastic experience with Rafa,” Mata said. “It was complicated because of the team’s situation. But we won the Europa League and he did a very successful job.
“On a personal level, in terms of numbers, statistics, games, assists and goals, it was my best season. Those are my memories of Rafa, his football and his manner of understanding the game with me were fantastic.
“Things will go very well for him. When Real Madrid lose there is always great repercussions and people start to look for problems, but on a personal level my experience was fantastic and I think he can repeat that success again in Spain.”