Cristiano Ronaldo to Man United: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opens door for return amid Man City interest

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Cristiano Ronaldo to Man United: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opens door for return amid Man City interest
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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has sensationally opened the door for Cristiano Ronaldo to return to the club, as his representatives prepare for talks with rivals Manchester City.

In a move that seemed unimaginable only a week ago, Ronaldo is seeking a return to the Premier League and agent Jorge Mendes was today expected to meet with City to discuss a shock deal to take the Portuguese superstar to the Etihad, 12 years after he left Manchester to join Real Madrid.

However, it had long been presumed that were Ronaldo to ever to come back to English football it would be to re-join United, the club where he became a superstar after joining from Sporting in 2003, winning three Premier League titles, the Champions League and the first of his five Ballon d’Ors.

And it appears that the Old Trafford outfit have now entered the race, with former teammate Solskjaer hinting at a possible comeback for a “legend of the club”.

“I didn’t think Cristiano would leave Juventus,” Solskjaer admitted on Friday. “There has been speculation. We have always had a good communication. He knows what we feel about him. If he is going to move he knows we are here.”

Ronaldo still has a year to run on his contract at Juventus but has told the Italian club that he wants to leave before the transfer window closes next week and Juve boss Max Allegri told a press conference on Friday that the forward’s time in Turin was is over.

“[Ronaldo] gave his contribution, he made himself available, now he leaves and life goes on,”Allegri said.

“Yesterday, Cristiano told me that he no longer has any intention to play for Juventus. For this reason he will not be called up for tomorrow’s game.

“Things change, it’s a law of life. Juventus remains, which is the most important thing.

“He is to be thanked for what he has done, also as an example amongst the youngsters. But as I said, we must go on.”

City are understood to want to sign the 36-year-old on a free transfer, while Juventus are hoping to secure a €25m fee but are also keen to get his astronomical salary off their books. In either case, Ronaldo is likely to have to take a significant pay-cut and his £500,000-a-week wages are expected to be a key point of discussion when Mendes meets the club today.

City have spent much of the summer pursuing a move for Harry Kane but had at least one bid, worth around £100m, rejected as Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy remained steadfast in his refusal to sell the club’s talisman. Kane confirmed earlier this week that he would be staying in north London, leaving City to consider Ronaldo as an alternative option.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Pep Guardiola was always expected to move for a striker this summer, having allowed Sergio Aguero to join Barcelona on a free transfer when his contract expired at the end of last season.

With a move for Kane failing, however, the £100m signing of Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish remains City’s only significant new arrival.

Ferran Torres, a winger by trade, has played as a central striker in each of City’s opening two Premier League games, while Gabriel Jesus, the only senior centre-forward in Guardiola’s squad, was deployed from the right in the 5-0 thrashing of Norwich last weekend.

Reports in Italy suggest Ronaldo has already emptied his locker and said goodbye to teammates as he seeks an early exit to the four-year contract he signed when joining Juventus from Real Madrid in 2018.

The Portugal captain has scored 101 goals in 134 games for the Turin giants and was named Serie A Footballer of the Year in each of his first two seasons but the team have largely regressed since his arrival, failing to go beyond the quarter-finals of the Champions League and seeing their nine-year reign as Italian champions ended by Inter Milan last season.

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