Manchester United will reportedly be contested by Chelsea in their supposed pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo, but the former remain placed as the overwhelming favourites to recruit the coveted Real Madrid superstar.
Paddy Power have Manchester United as odds on to become Ronaldo’s next permanent club, with Old Trafford 8/11 to be his destination. Chelsea, meanwhile, are not even among the top three contenders.
Sporting, another former club of the Portugal captain, are placed in second position at 3/1, while Paris Saint-Germain are listed as the third most likely to recruit Ronaldo. Chelsea, though, are some distance back at 8/1.
The link with Chelsea is one that has intensified in the last day or so, with it being claimed that the club have set aside £60 million to mount a British record move for Ronaldo in the January transfer window.
It would, however, appear unlikely Ronaldo would consider joining Chelsea given his tetchy relationship with Jose Mourinho. Only last week Ronaldo was withering in his assessment of Mourinho’s tenure at the Santiago Bernabeu.
This speculation about the 29-year-old’s future with Madrid goes back to comments he made following the departures of Angel di Maria and Xabi Alonso, both players he admired and valued.
Ronaldo claimed he would not have sanctioned either sale were he in control of the club’s transfer activity, although Florentino Perez has since responded to insist there is no issue between himself and the player.
But this assertion has not been helped by recent comments from Ronaldo who said, as he has done in the past, that he hopes to eventually move back to Manchester United should an opportunity arise.
“I love Manchester,” he told the Daily Mail.
“Everyone knows that — I have said it many times. Manchester is in my heart. I left many good friends there, the supporters are amazing and I wish I can come back one day.”
Manchester United link
Manchester United, for their part in this story, have naturally been credited with an interest in bringing Ronaldo back, with latest reports claiming they are prepared to pay him in excess of £300,000-per-week to get the deal done.
Jorge Mendes, who worked on the transfers of both Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao, is inevitably involved, and his supposed close relationship with Ed Woodward will ensure that this is a transfer story that continues to run. That is, of course, unless Ronaldo himself dismisses the speculation.
Over to you, Cristiano.