Portuguese giants Porto want to take Man Utd superstar Cristiano Ronaldo back to his homeland in the summer, according to reports.
The Portugal star scored a wonderful hat-trick as the Red Devils beat Tottenham 3-2 in the Premier League 12 days ago but drew a blank as Ralf Rangnick’s side crashed out of the Champions League to Atletico Madrid last week.
Ronaldo has scored 18 goals in 32 appearances this term but, aside from the hat-trick against Spurs, has struggled to hit top form in recent months.
There have been many rumours that Ronaldo will attempt to leave Old Trafford at the end of the season if Man Utd fail to qualify for the Champions League.
The Red Devils are currently sixth in the Premier League, four points behind fourth-placed Arsenal but the Gunners still have one game in hand on Rangnick’s men.
He has been linked with a return to Real Madrid in the summer, while a move to Paris Saint-Germain has also been mooted before – but Football Insider claim that Porto could make a move for Ronaldo.
Porto are ‘plotting a sensational move’ to take Ronaldo to Portugal in the summer transfer window as they ‘believe the door has opened for the all-time great to make a romantic return to his homeland this summer.’
Sources have told Football Insider that Ronaldo, who previously played for Porto’s rivals Sporting Lisbon, ‘would be interested in a return to Portugal nearly two decades’ after leaving the José Alvalade Stadium.
It is understood that ‘Porto are monitoring Ronaldo’s situation going into the summer and could make a move if given encouragement’ with the Portugal international having another year to go on his contract at Man Utd.
Porto are ‘cautiously optimistic that Ronaldo could be tempted by a surprise return back home this summer’ in what would be a major coup for the Portuguese top flight.
Meanwhile, former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson can’t see Ronaldo staying at Man Utd beyond the summer after the club failed to win a trophy this season.
“You never know what Manchester United team’s going to turn up,” Merson told Sky Sports after Man Utd beat Spurs.
“I always thought the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo wasn’t great. He gets a hat-trick on Saturday and everybody’s going mad, but put the ball in the box and Ronaldo will score goals. It’s simple.
“The header didn’t shock me one iota. He’s the best header of the ball in the world. He hangs in the air, but you’ve got to put the ball in the box.
“He’s not going to do two stepovers, beat two players and then smash the ball in the top corner – those days are gone. But put the ball in the box and the man is the best finisher there’s ever been. You can’t score that many goals if you’re not a good finisher.
“Do I think he’ll still be there next season? No, absolutely not. I’d be shocked if he was still there. I don’t think the manager who’s coming in is going to be as soft. I don’t think it’s going to work with him. If you want to win the Premier League, that isn’t happening.”