Teaser clips from Cristiano Ronaldo’s television interview with Piers Morgan have surely nudged the Portugal forward to the end of the road at Manchester United.
While reconciliation appears unlikely given the tenor of the 37-year-old’s comments, there may be other clubs ready to give the all-time great a swansong.
Here, the PA news agency looks at five possible options for the new year.
While it never got beyond initial conversations over the summer, Chelsea sounded Ronaldo out about a potential switch that the Portugal ace was reportedly open to. Former Blues boss Thomas Tuchel was not thought to be keen on the switch but he is long gone and with successor Graham Potter suffering a rocky start at Stamford Bridge, the idea could once again appeal to Todd Boehly’s ownership group. Money should not be a major stumbling block and if the opportunity arose, the chance to end his Premier League journey on a high could be irresistible.
Ronaldo became a global star during his first period with United but it was Sporting that helped cultivate his early talent. The forward has regularly been linked with a return to the club he left aged 18 and retains a strong connection with the Primeira Liga side, who have a section dedicated to him in their museum and renamed their academy training facilities after him. The player’s mother, Dolores Aveiro, has previously said she wants to eventually see him back playing for the Lisbon club.
Dropping into the Europa League may not be Ronaldo’s first preference and the Roma’s current league position of seventh means a league trophy looks a long shot. But the presence of compatriot Jose Mourinho in the dugout could be intriguing. The pair enjoyed great success together at Real Madrid, harbour similar frustrations about their treatment by United and may decide to put their star power together in one last roll of the dice.
When Ronaldo last appeared to be on the way out of Old Trafford over the summer, none of Europe’s elite swooped for the aging star. A swathe of names were mentioned as potential destinations but the only offer came from Saudi Arabia. It is reported that Al Hilal were the club who approached Ronaldo about a potential two-year deal worth 275million euros (£233.4million). That was not attractive enough then but perhaps things are different now.
Major League Soccer
A number of European football’s biggest names have taken up the option of seeing out their days in the United States, with the likes Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney among their number. Ronaldo’s A-list status would make him the kind of draw that could pull serious commercial interest in MLS and the lifestyle across the Atlantic would hardly put off a player who long ago became a crossover celebrity. LAFC, LA Galaxy and Beckham’s Inter Miami have all been touted as potential suitors.
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