Cristiano Ronaldo’s potential return to Manchester United is ‘closer than ever’ as the legendary Portuguese forward prepares to leave Juventus.
This is according to Spanish newspaper AS, who understand the 36-year-old is open to a fairytale return to Old Trafford.
United, per the same report, have told Ronaldo they want to re-sign him ahead of the 2021-22 campaign, which gets underway in August.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has one year left to run on his contract at Juve but reportedly wants to leave the Italian giants this summer.
The Old Lady are fifth in the Serie A table with one fixture remaining. Unless they avoid defeat away at Bologna on Sunday and other results go their way, Andrea Pirlo’s side will fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
If Juve finish outside the top four, AS claim there’s “absolutely no chance” the veteran superstar will stay on in Turin.
Solskjaer has spoken with Ronaldo
It’s also reported that United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has personally spoken to Ronaldo to outline his plans for the team.
Solskjaer told his former teammate how important his return would be for the Premier League giants, whose fans still chant the Portugal international’s name to this day, 12 years after he departed Old Trafford for Real Madrid.
Ronaldo aims to end career at Sporting - but not yet
Cristiano, who won three Premier League titles and the Champions League under Sir Alex Ferguson between 2003-2009, is understood to be attracted by a transfer that would enable him to bring his illustrious career full circle.
Following a second spell with the Red Devils, his plan would be to end his playing days back in Portugal with Sporting Lisbon, where he began his professional career.
Juve would be prepared to offload Ronaldo from their wage bill, particularly if they fail to qualify for the lucrative Champions League.
How much will Juventus demand for Ronaldo?
AS say the Serie A outfit, who won the Coppa Italia earlier this week, would likely seek around €25 million for the global star, although a swap deal might also interest them.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, would be willing to take a pay cut on the €30 million net he currently earns in Turin, in order to seal a return to the Theatre of Dreams.
Ronaldo a cheaper alternative for United than Kane
United have been linked with Harry Kane, who wants to leave Tottenham this summer, in recent days.
But any deal for the England international, 27, would cost in the region of £100 million - £150 million for the transfer fee alone.
Could Ronaldo still cut it in the Premier League?
Ronaldo would be a significantly cheaper alternative and, although age isn’t on his side, he still guarantees goals.
Football’s all-time leading goalscorer has netted a hugely impressive 29 league goals in 33 games this season, six more than Serie A’s second-highest goalscorer Romelu Lukaku.
In all competitions, Ronaldo has bagged 36 goals in 44 appearances this term.
He’s been linked with a return to Man Utd on countless occasions down the years, but Ronaldo has never considered the option more seriously as he is now.