Cristiano Ronaldo’s proposed return to Manchester United may be steadily gathering pace, but there remains an unlikely obstacle which could potentially stand in its way: his girlfriend.
The Daily Express this morning carries quotes from the player’s partner, Russian model Irina Shayk, and claims that her love for Paris could see Ronaldo opt to move to Ligue 1 when he leaves Real Madrid, as opposed to the Premier League.
Ronaldo to PSG?
Shayk recently spoke out about her affections towards France’s capital, and even went as far as to weigh in on her thoughts concerning her ability to convince Ronaldo to sign for Laurent Blanc’s PSG.
The mega-rich outfit are looking to continue their rise to the summit of European football and with Ligue 1 sufficiently conquered following back to back titles secured with consummate ease, the Champions League is now the primary aim.
Of course to clinch the most prestigious prize in European football you generally need one of the world’s best players. Cue potential interest in Ronaldo. And, whilst a move may seem unlikely thanks to United being an alternative option, the Express speculate that Shayk could factor in as a mediator in negotiations. It’s a notion she has hardly rubbished.
"I am pleased to be in Paris. People are friendly and welcoming,” the 28-year-old said.
"Everything is absolutely perfect in Paris: Notre Dame, the Louvre etc.
"Paris reminds me of Saint Petersburg with is historic sites and street corners full of history.
"I am always moved to return to Paris and I hope to spend more time here one of these days.
"Is it that I should convince Cristiano to sign for Paris (Saint-Germain)? I don't know much about it but I do love Paris."
Whilst Shayk’s comments hardly confirm that Ronaldo is going to leave Madrid before his contract expires in 2018, the idea that he might has been reinforced a number of times over the past few days.
First of all there were the rumours that the Portuguese forward was miffed over the sale of former teammate Angel Di Maria - coincidentally to United - before the player himself spoke publicly over his love for the Red Devils.
Los Blancos president Florentino Perez has been quick to deny that there is any tension between himself and Ronaldo, or that his star player could be looking to leave far sooner than expected, and yet the rest of the world continue to wait with baited breath.
A return to United would ensure that the 29-year-old’s fairytale career has a fitting end, whilst a switch to Ligue 1 would mean that he can likely continue playing at the highest level for longer due to the division being limited in terms of physical demands.
When United and PSG are put head to head financially one would have to favour the French champions. Despite Ed Woodward’s hearty boasts about United being able to compete with anyone in the world in a financial fight their Parisian counterparts are backed by billions, and they would likely be prepared to offer Ronaldo a blank cheque with regards to his wages. Of course it might not even come to that if Shayk has her say.