Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain have all been made aware of Cristiano Ronaldo’s plan to leave Manchester United.
The 37-year-old has handed in a shock transfer request, asking to leave the Red Devils after just one season back at Old Trafford should the club receive a satisfactory transfer bid. The bombshell news comes on the eve of Erik ten Hag’s first pre-season tour, and while the new United manager is shifting his focus to finding a replacement, Ronaldo and his agent, Jorge Mendes, are now scouring the continent for his next destination.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is desperate to play Champions League football next term and avoid the Europa League mediocrity which the Red Devils will find themselves in come September. The three aforementioned heavyweights were all informed of his situation before it went public, having grown frustrated with United’s underwhelming transfer business this summer.
Italian giants Napoli are tipped as the most likely suitor at present after quickly expressing their interest, reports The Athletic. While Mendes has also informed Bayern of recent developments, PSG are believed not to be in the running, shutting down the eye-watering prospect of lining up Ronaldo and eternal rival Lionel Messi together on the same team for the first time in their illustrious careers, having re-signed Kylian Mbappe.
The Portuguese superstar — who still still has one year remaining on his £500,000-a-week contract — faced Napoli plenty of times during his three years in Italy with Juventus. A football-mad city whose club have returned to the Champions League by finishing third in Serie A under experienced boss Luciano Spalletti, Napoli famously signed Diego Maradona from Barcelona in 1984, a talismanic signing which helped them win five trophies including two league titles during his six-year stint.
Before Ronaldo’s bombshell took the back pages by storm, Bayern were linked with a move after his agent got in touch, as the Bundesliga champions prepare for the departure of Robert Lewandowski to Barcelona. But sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic poured cold water on the reports, telling Sky Germany : “Cristiano Ronaldo is a top player with an outstanding career. However, the rumour that is circulating is a rumour that has no truth in it.”
Mendes met Chelsea’s new owner, Todd Boehly, in Portugal two weeks ago to talk transfers, with a potential switch to Stamford Bridge being discussed. The ex- Real Madrid striker was infamously close to joining United’s cross-city foes, Manchester City, last summer, but eventually decided on re-signing for his beloved Red Devils in a £12,86million deal.
Only during the June international break was Ronaldo heaping praise on Ten Hag, seemingly keen to play under him for at least one more campaign.
“What I know about him is he did a fantastic job for Ajax, that he’s an experienced coach,” Ronaldo told manutd.com. “But we need to give him time. Things need to change the way he wants. I hope we have success, of course, because, if you have success, all of Manchester is going to have success as well.” — Mirror