Cristiano Ronaldo is still no closer to resolving his Manchester United future as he continues to push for a move to Atletico Madrid.
The Portuguese superstar was given permission to miss United's tour of Asia and Australia due to personal reasons. But the 37-year-old is still keen to cut short his second spell at Old Trafford after the club missed out on Champions League qualification.
Ronaldo has been offered to several of Europe’s top clubs but the striker has been hindered by the fact that his eye-watering £475,000-a-week wages can only be afforded by a finite number of teams, even after he offered to cut by his demands by 30 per cent. And his options are running thin now after Chelsea, Bayern Munich and PSG have all pulled out of the running.
READ MORE: Man Utd bosses 'privately accept' Cristiano Ronaldo's future despite Erik ten Hag stance
His only realistic options remaining are a loan move to his boyhood club Sporting Lisbon or a high-profile permanent transfer to Atletico Madrid. The Rojiblancos are yet to declare their intentions regarding their interest in Ronaldo, but The Sunday Times report the United star is keen to link up with Diego Simeone’s side.
Such a move would have at one point in his career seemed impossible, given Ronaldo’s historic nine-year spell with city rivals Real Madrid where he scored 450 goals. But there are several positive reasons for the legendary striker wanting to go back to Spain.
Ronaldo is a player powered by individual achievements and records, as well as the burgeoning collection of titles in his trophy cabinet. And he would have designs on erasing Lionel Messi’s name from some records in La Liga and keeping his crown as the Champions League’s all-time top goalscorer on 137 goals.
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But with United out of the competition for at least one season and Messi playing for PSG, the Argentinian would have the chance to close the gap.
In addition to helping Atletico challenge to win the Champions League and also rival Real and Barcelona for the Liga title, Ronaldo is also thought to have been impressed by Simeone’s work and eagerness to sign him. Older strikers such as Luis Suarez and Diego Costa have proved they can slot into his formation which may make a move seem more appealing.
Reports also suggest Ronaldo’s fiancee Georgina Rodriguez, who is from Spain, is keen for their young family to return to Madrid where they met and lived previously. The pair now have five children after the recent birth of a baby boy.
Whether United will be willing to sell is another factor, however. Erik ten Hag has made it clear he is counting on Ronaldo to help his side after the Dutchman took over as head coach this summer.
“We are planning for Cristiano Ronaldo for the season and that's it. I'm looking forward to working with him," the Dutchman told reporters. "Cristiano is not for sale. He is in our plans and we want success together.”
But with Ronaldo seemingly set on a move away from Manchester and five weeks left of the transfer window, a move back to Spain cannot be ruled out — especially given super agent Jorge Mendes' influence in the market.
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