Cristiano Ronaldo's desire to become the best paid footballer in the world has reopened the door to a possible move to Manchester City or Chelsea, reports the Mail on Sunday.
The 27-year-old's rift with Real Madrid - the club that paid Manchester United £80million for his services in 2009 - continues to escalate, with the Portuguese star agitating for a huge pay rise to bring him in line with highest earner Samuel Eto'o.
Ronaldo's salary at Real sees him 10th in the footballer rich list at £7.98million net, around half what Eto'o earns at Russian club Anzhi. His immediate target is a 50 per cent increase to around £11.8million net.
But the issue is complicated further by the player's dissatisfaction at his image rights - 50 per cent of which are owned by La Liga club - and Spain's revised tax laws.
With a new agreement far from being reached, a number of Europe's big-spending clubs are waiting in the wings as they continue to monitor Ronaldo's situation closely.
Russian-owned Chelsea, along with Arab-backed Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, head the list of interested parties, whilst former employers United are not believed to be considering an audacious bid.
Sir Alex Ferguson is a huge admirer of Ronaldo, but is unlikely to be prepared to pay the money needed to bring him back to Old Trafford. However, the same can't be said for Roberto Di Matteo or Roberto Mancini.
Roman Abramovich has spent big on strengthening his Stamford Bridge squad since winning the Champions League last season, and Citizens owner Sheikh Mansour has also wasted little time in establishing his club as a European powerhouse, since first taking over at the Etihad Stadium in 2008.