Juventus could be forced to sell Cristiano Ronaldo for a cut-down fee this summer as the impact of coronavirus continues to bite hard in Italian football.
There is a growing concern that the worldwide pandemic will impact the eight-times reigning Serie A champions more than most with their huge squad and massive weekly wage bill leaving them counting the cost of the worldwide pandemic.
United have already been linked with a move for his Juventus teammate Matthijs de Ligt less than 12 months after they failed to sign the defender.
But with concerns continuing to mount, Il Messagero claims it is Ronaldo who could prove their biggest loss with the huge financial strain of his wages backing them into a corner and forcing them into a sale.
Ronaldo has already taken a £3.4million hit on his £28m-a-year wage this week.
But the Italian paper believes that is not enough to prevent Juventus from having to take drastic action and they believe that allowing him to leave will prove the best way forward for the Old Lady, with a number of tough decisions needed to be made.
And it gets worse for Juventus. As per CIES Football Observatory, transfer fees – and player valuations – around the world will be chopped by around 28% as a result of coronavirus. That would mean Juve being forced to sell Ronaldo for a sum of nearer £60m, having paid Real Madrid £102m for him in summer 2018.
Despite his age, the 35-year-old would have no shortage of admirers and the Italian paper claims it would likely be a 50/50 battle between United and PSG as to where Ronaldo winds up next.
Ronaldo has made no secret of his love for the club, nor on his desire to one day return to Old Trafford. But with time not on his side, it would surely be a case of now-or-never for the Portuguese superstar.
Any return to United for the player would no doubt delight their fans and many of their players; none more so than Bruno Fernandes, who has gone on record to cite the influence his countryman has had on his career.
“He welcomed me very well to the Portugal national team,” Fernandes told Cronache Di Spogliatoio last month.
“We look at him as an idol, he has always been an idol for me. I followed his example, he is one of my favourites.
“When I was called up by Portugal, he came to me saying, ‘You are doing a good job at Sporting, I like it’. Words like these make the difference.”
Ronaldo scored 118 goals in 292 matches for United before he secured a then world-record £80m switch to Juventus in 2009.
Should Ronaldo depart, it could also have a knock-on effect for Aaron Ramsey, the second-highest earner in the side, with the former Arsenal midfielder pocketing £400,000-a-week following his move in summer 2019.