United have made it plain to Ronaldo that they’re interested in re-signing him this summer, and the Juventus star is open to a move back to the Premier League club.
Since swapping United for Real Madrid at the end of the 2008/09 season, he has never considered the option of a return as seriously as he is now.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has spoken to the 36-year-old to outline his plans for the team and how important his return to Manchester would be for the 20-time English champions, whose fans would get their wish of seeing the club legend pull on the red shirt once more.
However, a decision on Ronaldo’s future will not be made until it is known whether or not Juve will be in next season’s Champions League. If the Bianconeri qualify for Europe’s premier club competition, it is still possible the Portugal captain could remain in Turin. If Juve fail to do so, there is absolutely no chance he will stay on.
As things stand, though, a Ronaldo move back to United is the most likely outcome in either scenario.
Ronaldo is attracted by a move that would enable him to start bringing his career full circle. After spending a couple of seasons spearheading a United side with ambitions of winning every major trophy – in what would also be a favourable environment for his family – his plan would then be to hang up his boots back in Portugal at Sporting CP, the club where he began his playing days.
Were they to miss out on the financial boost of playing Champions League football next term, Juve would readily agree to a deal for Ronaldo, who has another season to run on the four-year contract he signed when joining the Vecchia Signora from Madrid in 2018. Juve would be likely to seek around 25 million euros for the forward, or alternatively try to organise a swap deal
For his part, Ronaldo accepts he would be unlikely to get the 30 million euros net he currently earns and would be willing to take a pay cut. He is well aware he doesn’t have many more chances to lift the Champions League or challenge for the Ballon d’Or. Those are his chief priorities and, having scored 101 goals in 133 Juve appearances, he has shown he still has plenty to offer at the top level.
Having lifted their 14th Coppa Italia by beating Atalanta in Wednesday’s final, Juve now face their most important task of the season: sealing qualification for the Champions League. Missing out on a top-four Serie A finish would be a disaster for the club, who this term saw their nine-year run as Italian champions brought to an end. They also suffered renewed European disappointment, exiting the Champions League in the last 16 at the hands of Porto.
Juve’s fate is not in their own hands. In addition to beating Bologna, Andrea Pirlo’s men need either Napoli or AC Milan to fail to win. The Partenopei host a Verona side with nothing to play for, while Milan go to Atalanta, who have already secured their Champions League berth but are eager to claim a second-placed league finish for the first time in their history.
Sunday’s results may also prove crucial to Ronaldo’s future. He has been eyeing the exit door at Juve for a while now, but there is still an outside chance he’ll stay – on two conditions. Firstly, the club must be in the Champions League next season; that is a deal-breaker. Secondly, they must build a team that can challenge for Europe’s top prize, something that hasn’t happened so far since his arrival.
As things stand, however, Manchester United are the favourites to boast Cristiano Ronaldo’s services next season whatever happens.