Manchester United have ended their pursuit of Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo after being told by the Spanish giants to cough up a cool £84.5 million for the three-time Ballon d’Or winner - £4.5 million more than they originally sold him for in 2009.
This is according to The Sun, who claim Manchester United were only prepared to pay £60 million to bring the 30-year-old back to Old Trafford.
A £60 million fee would still have broken the British transfer record set by Angel di Maria, who is on the brink of a move to Paris Saint-Germain, last summer - but Real Madrid believe the Portuguese superstar, despite his advancing years, is still worth a mega transfer fee.
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United are due to receive £44 million from PSG for Di Maria - a £15 million loss on the £59.7 million they paid 11 months ago - with £22 million set to be spent on Barcelona forward Pedro.
However, it’s safe to assume that the majority of Manchester United fans would prefer the club to smash their transfer record on Ronaldo, who spent six memorable years at Old Trafford before joining Los Blancos.
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Ronaldo unsettled under Benitez?
Speculation is rife in Spain that Ronaldo is not entirely happy working under new head coach Rafael Benitez - several training ground videos appear to show that there could be a slight issue there between player and manager - and would be open to leaving the Bernabeu before the transfer window closes on September 1.
However, Ronaldo will surely want to stay at Real Madrid - the club of his dreams - until he becomes their all-time top goalscorer.
That shouldn’t take too long, though. Another 11 goals will see him leapfrog Real Madrid legend Raul into pole position.
Ronaldo has been extraordinarily good since arriving at the Bernabeu in 2009. Back then nobody could have envisaged the number of goals he’d go on to score for the ten-time European champions.
A total of 313 goals in 300 appearances means Ronaldo has averaged more than a goal a game for Los Blancos - a remarkable achievement which may never again be repeated.
Ronaldo should become a centre-forward
But Ronaldo’s reluctance to play as a striker this season may have been another reason why Manchester United are unwilling to pay Real Madrid’s asking price.
Ronaldo’s body has changed in recent years; although still world-class, he is no longer as dynamic as he once was.
It makes sense for Ronaldo to become a centre-forward - not only would it allow him to be as close to goal as possible, but it would also free him of additional defensive responsibilities - but he believes the left-wing position provides him with the space he needs to work his magic.
Manchester United fans may need to forget about the idea of Cristiano Ronaldo ever returning to Old Trafford.
Manchester United fans: should your club just pay the £84.5m for Cristiano Ronaldo? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!