Rumour Has It: Man Utd tempt Cristiano Ronaldo with Old Trafford return

By Sports Desk April 23, 2021

Between 2003 and 2009, Cristiano Ronaldo won three Premier League titles and the Champions League among other honours at Manchester United.

Ronaldo has since gone on to play for Real Madrid and Juventus, but he could be set for an Old Trafford reunion.

Watch this space…

 

TOP STORY – UNITED MAKE RONALDO CONTACT

Manchester United have made contact with Cristiano Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes over a return to Old Trafford, according to the front page of Friday's Gazzetta dello Sport.

Juventus superstar Ronaldo has been tipped to leave Turin, where he arrived in 2018, amid links with former clubs United and Real Madrid, as well as Paris Saint-Germain.

Ronaldo, who starred for United between 2003 and 2009, would have to take a wage cut in order to make a Manchester reunion a reality.

 

ROUND-UP

- Diario AS claims Madrid are willing to sell Raphael Varane in order to raise transfer funds amid strong links with Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and PSG star Kylian Mbappe. Varane has been linked with United and Chelsea.

- Staying at the Santiago Bernabeu, and AS says the future of captain Sergio Ramos looks less likely to be at Madrid. The likes of United and PSG have emerged as possible destinations for the superstar Spain skipper.

Barcelona are prioritising the signing of Lyon captain Memphis Depay, reports RMC Sport. Juventus have also been linked.

Rodrigo De Paul is wanted by Leeds United, Juve, Inter and Napoli, according to Calciomercato. Juve have been eyeing the Udinese star, but the Italian giants are also weighing up moves for United's Paul Pogba and Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli.

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    Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri says he expects Cristiano Ronaldo to demonstrate even greater responsibility this season.

    Allegri returned to the club for a second spell in May, having previously guided the Bianconeri to five successive Scudettos and two Champions League finals between 2014 and 2019.

    The 53-year-old will be looking to help Juve regain the Serie A title after they surrendered their crown to Inter last season.

    Question marks remain as to whether or not his attack will be led in the new campaign by Ronaldo, with speculation linking him with a move away from Turin.

    The Portuguese talisman top-scored in Serie A last term with 29 goals, taking his tally with the club to 101 since arriving from Real Madrid in 2018.

    Ronaldo, who returned to pre-season training on Monday following an extended break due to his Euro 2020 exertions, has one year remaining on his contract at the Allianz Stadium.

    Nevertheless, the 36-year-old remains firmly in the plans of Allegri, though the head coach warned that his game time may be reduced to accommodate team rotation during another hectic campaign.

    “Ronaldo is a great player and a smart guy,” he said. “I spoke to him yesterday, as I did with the others.

    “I told him that this is an important season and that I am happy to meet him again.

    “Now, he has more responsibility because three years ago, we had a more experienced team, while now there are younger players.

    “I expect a lot from him as an experienced player. He is in good condition and he is fit.

    “There are different moments in a season, playing one game every three days. I’ll need to rotate the team, involving all the players and it also applies to him.”

  • Haaland discusses Chelsea reports: €175m would be a lot for one person! Haaland discusses Chelsea reports: €175m would be a lot for one person!

    Erling Haaland has suggested the €175million fee it might take to prise him away from Borussia Dortmund would be too much to spend on one player.

    That figure has been floated as a potential benchmark in Chelsea's bid to sign the Dortmund sensation.

    Haaland has previously been linked with several of Europe's top clubs, but finances are tight at Barcelona and Real Madrid while Manchester United and Manchester City seemingly have their eyes set on alternative targets.

    It leaves European champions Chelsea as the striker's most likely destination if he leaves Dortmund, yet Haaland's comments on Tuesday did not indicate an imminent move.

    "Before yesterday I hadn't talked to my agent in a month – you have to tell me [about the reports]," he told the media.

    "But I hope they are just rumours, as €175m would be a lot of money for one person."

    Pressed on his Dortmund future, Haaland added: "First of all, I have three years left on my contract. I'm enjoying my time here.

    "But of course [winning the DFB-Pokal] was important, because that's what I want."

    PAY THE PREMIUM?

    Dortmund have already sold Jadon Sancho to United but appear determined to keep Haaland for at least another year, at which point a relatively affordable clause in his contract could be activated by rival clubs.

    For Chelsea, as they aim to follow up Champions League success with a Premier League challenge, the appeal of paying a premium 12 months early is clear.

    Their shot conversion rate of 10.43 per cent in 2020-21 ranked 69th among the 98 teams in Europe's top five leagues, while their 58 goals fell 4.92 short of their expected goals (xG) total of 62.92 – the 20th-worst underperformance.

    Timo Werner was the Blues' starting striker of choice but netted just six times in the top flight from 79 shots worth a combined 11.45 xG, a miserable 7.59 per cent conversion rate.

    Haaland, by contrast, scored with 29.03 per cent of his 93 attempts, improving on his 23.84 xG with 27 Bundesliga goals.

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    The Belgium international has joined Al-Duhail on a three-year deal for a reported £13million fee (65.34m QAR), ending his six-year association with Spurs.

    Former Atletico Madrid and Southampton defender Alderweireld made 236 appearances for Tottenham and was a regular in the club's run to the 2018-19 Champions League final.

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    Spurs won 97 of the 172 league games Alderweireld started for a 56.4 per cent win rate, compared to exactly 50 per cent in the games without him (28 wins in 56 matches).

    The north London side announced Alderweireld's departure on their official website on Tuesday and the defender took to social media to send his best wishes to Spurs fans.

    "Six years, two homes, a Champions League final and so many memories," he said in a statement posted on his Twitter account.

    "You made me feel a part of your club from the moment I walked out at White Hart Lane and roared us on, no matter what, into our new, special, stadium.

    "Thank you first to the fans and then to my team-mates and every incredible member of the Spurs staff, backroom and beyond.

    "This club will always be in mine and my family's heart. Love Toby."

    Alderweireld is the third player to leave Tottenham during the offseason transfer window, with Juan Foyth completing a permanent move to Villarreal and Erik Lamela heading to Sevilla.

    Bryan Gil joined Spurs as part of that deal involving Lamela, while Pierluigi Gollini has also arrived on an initial season-long loan from Atalanta that includes an option to buy.

    Spurs, who named Nuno Espirito Santo as Jose Mourinho's permanent successor last month, begin their new Premier League campaign against Manchester City on August 15.

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