Real Madrid are planning to scupper Manchester United's sensational move to sign Cristiano Ronaldo because they are unwilling to sell the Portuguese ace next year, according to Spanish journalist Guillem Balague.
The rumour mill has gone into overdrive in recent weeks about Ronaldo's potential return to the club he left in 2009 for a then record £80 million.
The 29-year-old is believed to be keen on making his return to Old Trafford in the future despite the fact he signed a huge new five-year contract last year. Reports suggest he has fallen out of love with Madrid and that his agent Jorge Mendes wants to move him to Manchester United because the Spanish club's president Florentino Perez reneged on a deal to sign Radamel Falcao, another of Mendes' clients, in the summer transfer window.
Various reports have also claimed that Manchester United are ready and willing to pay £60 million in order to take him back to Old Trafford, where he would undoubtedly receive a heroes welcome. He's already hinted he would be open to a return 'one day' in the future, and the rumours that he could well be back next year are gathering pace. Chelsea have also been linked with a move for him.
Balague revealed last night on Sky Sports' Revista de La Liga that Ronaldo was keen on a return to Manchester United, but now has has offered this update that will temper the enthusiasm around Old Trafford despite the fact that almost all aspects of the transfer are in place.
He wrote on Twitter: "On CR7. Has MU considered costs? Yes. Willing 2 pay. Does he wanna come back? He dreams of it. Will RM sell? At the moment, NOT next summer."
Whether Ronaldo is willing to force his way out of Madrid next summer remains unclear, and if Real Madrid aren't willing to do business then the deal could fall though. They may well demand more than £60 million as well, although Manchester United may not be willing to go higher than that for a player who will then be 30 and has struggled with knee problems of late.
Chelsea have also been linked with a move for the world player of the year. His former boss at Real Madrid, Jose Mourinho, is now at Chelsea and it doesn't seem as though the pair share a warm relationship. Indeed, just today Mourinho has laid the blame for Madrid's failure to win the Champions League in 2012 at Ronaldo's door, while the forward insisted the pair weren't friends in a recent interview.