Is Cristiano Ronaldo coming home? Staying at Real Madrid? Throwing a curveball and moving to Chelsea? The media have been busy reporting on the 32-year-old’s future. Let’s round up all the rumours, shall we?
* What better place to start than with the Daily Mirror, who engage in some delightful Monday morning mathematics on their back page. ‘DE GEA + £175m = RONALDO’, they scream.
Darren Lewis claims that Manchester United ‘are ready to make keeper De Gea part of a world-record package’ to sign Ronaldo. It is a ‘staggering’ deal, he writes. And he is right.
So we are supposed to believe that United, who have fought to keep De Gea away from the clutches of the Bernabeu for the past three years, are now happy to swap him AND £175m in order to sign an admittedly brilliant 32-year-old striker?
Don’t mistake this claim for similar reports in Tuttosport on Sunday, either. The Italian newspaper revealed that United were willing to pay £183m and trade De Gea for both Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata. That is mental and would never happen, but this is a step further.
No, this is crazy transfer talk in its own right, not rehashed from a spurious European source.
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) June 19, 2017
The Mirror’s Twitter is weird.
* Over to The Sun, who claim that Ronaldo has told super-agent Jorge Mendes to ‘force through return’ to Old Trafford.
Martin Lipton writes that the temptation to ‘return as a hero’ is too hard to resist for the Portuguese, who believes he has ‘unfinished business’ at the club.
Lipton does throw a spanner into the works however: Ronaldo’s ‘complicated relationship’ with Jose Mourinho. The pair had a tumultuous time together at Real, but Mourinho is ready to ‘bury the hatchet’ in order to bring Ronaldo home. The idea of Mourinho ‘burying the hatchet’ with anyone is the most ridiculous thing we’ve heard all summer.
In addition to United, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich are all linked with a move for the man who pays all his taxes.
* Let’s see what they’re saying in Spain. What better place to start than the well-respected Diario Gol, who clearly have the inside track.
They claim that Mourinho ‘does not want to see’ Ronaldo in Manchester. Better yet, he does not even want to see ‘the bust of the Portuguese’, nor does he ‘want to know anything about his compatriot’. We knew they had fallen out, but we had no idea things were this bad.
Mourinho considers Ronaldo to have been one of the ‘rotten apples’ of his Real dressing room. It is claimed that ‘the frictions produced’ when they ‘shared costumes’ in Santiago Bernabeu, which is never recommended.
Mourinho even believes Ronaldo is ‘a player in decline’. That might be true, but it is a long way to decline from being the bloody best in the world.
We have saved the best bit of Diario Gol’s story until last, however. God bless Google Translate for their effort with the headline, which now reads: ‘Mourinho dismounts Cristiano Ronaldo…’
* According to fellow Spanish outlet Marca, Real manager Zinedine Zidane has reached out to Ronaldo in an effort to settle his future. The Frenchman ‘hopes he can convince the player’ to stay in Spain. It is claimed:
‘The message from Zidane to his star forward was clear and he told Ronaldo that this current Real Madrid team could go on to win plenty more and that they needed him for his goals, but also his winning mentality.’
Zidane, it is mentioned ‘is confident that the problems can be resolved’. But if Ronaldo does not change his mind, then the manager ‘has always said he does not want to keep any players against their will’.
* Sky Sports are kind enough to bring us two pieces of news on the Portuguese star.
First, those good old Sky sources can indeed confirm that Ronaldo is ‘interested’ in coming back to United. A source claims that the club ‘are very close to his heart’. Close enough to move and uproot his family to a completely different country?
It is added that United ‘are wary of being drawn into a transfer saga’ and are confident he will stay in Madrid, but are monitoring proceedings. Still, United are ‘one of the very few clubs he would want to join’.
Second, Sky claim that Ronaldo ‘tops Chinese Super League transfer wishlist’, with their transfer window opening on Monday.
It is a pretty obvious link – Chinese Super League clubs have a lot of money and like big-name players – but one major issue is their new 100 per cent tax on foreign players. The Chinese FA have introduced new measures in an attempt to curb crazy spending on players from Europe and beyond, and so clubs will essentially have to pay double the price to sign any foreign player. That essentially rules them out of this race.
* Shall we finish with the Sunday Express? Sure, their update on Ronaldo’s future was published 24 hours ago, but it is still being reported pretty much everywhere by Monday.
In an exclusive, the seemingly well-connected Colin Mafham writes that ‘moneybags Russian’ Roman Abramovich could fund a move for Ronaldo, which is putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with 427. ‘Rich man’ plus ‘expensive player’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘new signing’.
The story includes the following paragraph:
‘Chelsea’s canny backer will bank on even just an interest in Ronaldo would help allay Conte’s fears about the club’s summer transfers commitment, and heal increasingly damaging divisions over his text sacking of firebrand striker Diego Costa.’
Wonderful. As is the claim that Chelsea could use Eden Hazard ‘as a pawn’ in negotiations. It’s not like he’s their best player or anything.