Cristiano Ronaldo set to return to Manchester United

A Cristiano Ronaldo power play looks to have sealed his fate, irrevocably ending his relationship with the Real Madrid hierarchy according to reports in Spain. The greatest goalscorer in the history of Real Madrid, Ronaldo has helped guide the club to three Champions Leagues and two La Liga titles, scoring 422 goals in 418 games in the process. Yet with news of his desire to leave the Spanish giants, fans have turned on the Portuguese star at a rapid rate. Fresh off the news AS broke that Ronaldo wants out, the Spanish outlet has run a poll which shows 67.5% of the 125,000 fans surveyed want CR7 sold.

A poll on rival website Marca saw 68% of fans vote against Ronaldo earning a new, bumper contract. It has been widely reported that Ronaldo’s relationship with club president Florentino Perez has broken down over the delay in offering him a new contract to take him above Lionel Messi in the earning charts. According to The Mirror, Ronaldo (£18.5m per year) is actually the fifth highest paid player in world football, trailing Leo Messi (£40.5m), Neymar (£31.7m), Oscar (£21.1m) and Ezequiel Lavezzi (£20.3m). But two prolonged media campaigns within six months explicitly linking Ronaldo with an exit looks to have forced Real Madrid’s hand.

After A Bola broke the off-season news Ronaldo wanted to leave, with links to Paris Saint-Germain emerging before the French club signed Neymar, the 32-year-old has also spoken out against the club. After November’s Champions League loss to Tottenham, Ronaldo decried Real’s sale of first team players. “We have lost experience,” Ronaldo said. That sparked a retort from Real Madrid captain and, according to Diario Gol a “main ally” to Perez, Sergio Ramos. “I do not agree with Cristiano, he is being advantageous,” said Ramos.

Diario Gol claims Ronaldo attributes those transfer decisions to Perez, including the failure to sign another top class centre back – instead opting for youngster Jesus Vallejo to join the first team squad. Even in the UK, reporters are sceptical, with past links all resulting in Ronaldo signing bumper new contracts. “There is one shadow on Ronaldo’s [Man United reputation,” writes The National’s Andy Mitten.

Despite this, coach Zinedine Zidane has declared he “cannot imagine a Madrid without Cristiano”. But AS reports former club Manchester United are preparing to “activate a return plan” in the off-season. A report from Spanish TV channel La Sexta in Spain has confirmed Manchester United is Ronaldo’s preferred destination. “The Old Trafford outfit have carried out an economic ‘deep dive’ study into the economic viability of the operation,” the report reads. “The marketing men and bean counters at Man Utd reckon the media impact and marketing potential could easily outweigh the spend, generating vast streams of income for the Red Devils.” Another report in Diario Gol says Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes will have to work hard to convince fellow client Jose Mourinho to sanction the move. Ronaldo worked under Mourinho for three years at Real, with The Express claiming the two didn’t see eye-to-eye in the third season after the Special One publically criticised his star attacker.


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