In just 24 hours, two teams have pushed back rumours they could sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United.
The striker looks set to depart Old Trafford in the January transfer window following his incredible interview with Piers Morgan. Ronaldo has criticised several aspects of the club, including Erik ten Hag, the owners, the facilities and some of the younger players.
He just wanted to give his side of the story after so much talk in the media. But many argue Ronaldo has gone too far when disrespecting the manager and a couple of club legends, in the form of Gary Neville and Wayne Rooney.
On Monday, before the full interview had been released by Morgan, Man Utd issued the following statement: ‘Manchester United notes the media coverage regarding an interview by Cristiano Ronaldo.
‘The club will consider its response after the full facts have been established.
‘Our focus remains on preparing for the second half of the season and continuing the momentum, belief and togetherness being built among the players, manager, staff, and fans.’
The second part of the interview will appear on TV tonight at 8pm. Soon after that, Man Utd will reveal exactly what sanctions Ronaldo can expect to face.
In the mean time, the Red Devils have begun to remove a mural featuring Ronaldo on the outside of their stadium.
Ten Hag will likely want Ronaldo to exit Man Utd as soon as the January window opens. But this will be far from easy given his age and huge financial demands.
Man Utd may struggle to offload Cristiano Ronaldo
In the summer, several big clubs distanced themselves from Ronaldo after receiving contact from his agent, Jorge Mendes. These included Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain.
And Ronaldo is now facing a repeat of this continent-wide rejection. Newcastle are one of the few clubs who have the finances to sign the Portuguese, but Magpies midfielder Bruno Guimaraes has urged them against this.
In a recent interview, he said: “I think Newcastle need players with that [right] mentality, it’s not about signing everyone just because they have money.
“It’s not bringing Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Mbappe. It’s not like this.”
And Newcastle are not the only side to reject Ronaldo. There has been talk of a return to Sporting Lisbon, where the goalscorer began his career.
But their club president, Frederico Varandas, has denied claims he has spoken about Ronaldo’s potential signing.
“He will always be the reference of Sporting’s academy and the best Portuguese player ever,” Varandas told Portuguese TV channel RTP3 (via The Sun). “There are several ways to be at Sporting stadium.
“Now, I’m not going to make noise. If Ruben Amorim [Sporting’s manager] vetoed the return? Of course not. It was never even a topic or was on the table.
Sporting chief refutes Ronaldo conversation rumours
“There was never a conversation with me, with Hugo Viana [Sporting’s director of football] or Amorim. This topic never existed. I know it sells a lot in the press.”
Varandas did admit ‘we never know’ about the future, while also saying Ronaldo ‘can decide where he goes’. However, it doesn’t look like the player will be going back to Portugal this winter.
Ronaldo was left embarrassed in the summer when he couldn’t find a club to sign him from Man Utd. Big teams want to use their money developing young strikers with great potential, rather than someone of Ronaldo’s age (37).
And this situation looks set to happen again in early 2023. This time around, though, Man Utd will do all they can to get him gone.
They cannot afford to have Ronaldo in the dressing room for the rest of the season, potentially impacting the other players. This brings up the possibility of them terminating his contract early, although this will cost a huge amount.