Napoli director discusses Ronaldo rumours – ‘we wanted to invest in a young team’

Date published: Sunday 11th September 2022 8:00 - Jason Soutar

Reported Napoli target Cristiano Ronaldo preparing to come on as a substitute

Napoli director Cristiano Giuntoli insisted he was wanting to “invest in a young team” when asked about the club’s rumoured interest in Man Utd striker Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo told the Red Devils that he wanted to leave the club back in July, days before he was due to return for pre-season training.

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The Portugal captain was linked with several clubs, though none actually wanted to sign him, it would appear.

Paris Saint-Germain, Marseille, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Sporting Lisbon, Bayern Munich and AC Milan were all thrown in the mix by the media.

If the summer transfer window rumours are to be believed, the only offer Ronaldo received was from a team in Saudi Arabia.

The main motive for the player’s desire to leave was so he can compete in the Champions League.

As the all-time scorer in the competition, he is getting a bit nervous with Lionel Messi 15 goals behind him in the scoring charts.

After failing to get his move, Ronaldo played in the Europa League for Man Utd against Real Sociedad on Thursday, and looked pretty bad.

Once the most dangerous player in world football thanks to his pace, explosiveness and ruthlessness in front of goal, the 37-year-old is finally showing his age after years of defying logic and biology.

A move away from Old Trafford in January is also unlikely, so Ronaldo must get his head screwed on and help the Red Devils back into the Champions League.

Speaking to Corriere Dello Sport, Napoli director Giuntoli has discussed his club’s reported interest in the legendary forward.

The Serie A outfit demolished Liverpool in Naples on Wednesday evening, putting four goals past Jurgen Klopp’s side in the Champions League.

“During the transfer market we pretend to chat with everyone, and sometimes we do it for real,” Giuntoli said.

“But we wanted to invest in a young team.”

The Napoli director also discussed the loss of Dries Mertens, Kalidou Koulibaly, Fabian Ruiz and Lorenzo Insigne, who joined Galatasaray, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Toronto FC respectively.

He said that it was a “risk”, but the coronavirus pandemic has brought the club “to their knees”.

This could have been another reason why they opted against signing Ronaldo, with his wage demands expected to be astronomical.

One young player Napoli signed in the summer window was Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

The Georgian playmaker has started the season extremely well and starred against Liverpool during the week.

Purchased for only £9million, Giuntoli will probably want at least ten times that when a club inevitably comes calling.

Victor Osimhen has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League and there were even rumours he would join Man Utd with Ronaldo going the other way.

The Nigerian striker missed a penalty and was substituted during his side’s 4-1 win against the Reds.

Giuntoli confirmed he will not be in action this weekend but is not expected to be out for a while, with the Naples outfit taking on Rangers at Ibrox next week.

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