Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Cristiano Ronaldo: Man Utd exit chances take significant turn as boss of European giants changes stance and key factor keeps hopes alive

Man Utd striker Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo could find a return to Sporting Lisbon from Manchester United appealing – and the Portuguese giants have not abandoned their interest, TEAMtalk has been told.

Ronaldo has been considering his Manchester United future for a while, after they failed to qualify for this season’s Champions League. Since then, regular starts have been hard to come by for the Portuguese legend under Erik ten Hag.

Ronaldo is out of contract with Manchester United at the end of the season, although they can extend his stay by a further 12 months. But debates around where he might end up next have not ceased.

One of the options that could be available to Ronaldo would be Sporting Lisbon. He began his career there before originally joining Manchester United for his first spell. Hence, it would be an emotional return.

There would of course be questions about the feasibility of the move from Sporting’s perspective. However, with few other options around for Ronaldo, it might be something to give serious thought to.

And according to TEAMtalk’s transfer expert Graeme Bailey, Ronaldo might find the return to Sporting attractive. What’s more, the Primeira Liga side remain open to the idea of bringing the 37-year-old back.

“Talk of Cristiano Ronaldo’s future won’t stop being a subject we talk about until we know where he is going and one of the few realistic destinations is Sporting Lisbon,” Bailey said.

“Sporting had an interest in the summer, but coach Ruben Amorim was not on board. However, his stance in recent weeks has softened and I understand their interest overall remains in Ronaldo.”

European status still gives Sporting hope with Cristiano Ronaldo

Sporting were recently eliminated from the Champions League after finishing behind Tottenham Hotspur and Eintracht Frankfurt in their group.

But by coming above Marseille, they have earned the right to compete in the Europa League.

Despite already having that on offer with Manchester United, Ronaldo may be intrigued by the idea of taking part in it as a Sporting player.

“Sporting going out of the Champions League was not ideal. But the fact they are still in the Europa League and with a genuine chance of now winning it, could be something that appeals to Ronaldo – who still believes he has a couple of seasons left in him,” Bailey added.

“We won’t know until after the World Cup what is going to happen with Ronaldo, as other options will no doubt develop aside from Sporting. But we shouldn’t forget or disregard his love of the club.”

During his previous spell with Sporting, Ronaldo made 31 appearances and scored five goals. After showing his potential, Manchester United went on to buy him – and what followed became history.

Five Ballon d’Or awards would follow across his career, in which he also represented Real Madrid and Juventus.

Ronaldo returned to Manchester United in 2021. Could his next step be to return to another of his former clubs, Sporting?

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