Juventus talisman Cristiano Ronaldo believes he could join Manchester City by the end of the week, according to a report from France – despite the ex-Man United hero once laughing off talk of ever joining their arch-rivals.
Portugal captain Ronaldo's agent, Jorge Mendes, is "working overtime" to engineer a swift move to the reigning Premier League champions, L'Equipe has claimed within 24 hours of Juve leaving him out of their starting lineup for the first game of their season.
The French outlet says that Ronaldo has spoken to City players and is determined to complete a shock return to England for the first time in more than 12 years.
City have been linked with a cut-price bid of around $34 million for the United legend, which would ensure that Juve do not lose the five-time Ballon d'Or winner for free when his contract expires next year.
🚨 BREAKING: Cristiano Ronaldo sees himself at Manchester City before the window shuts. He has spoken to a number of City players and he feels a deal can be done by the weekend.— Transfer News Live (@DeadlineDayLive) August 24, 2021
(Source: L'Equipe) pic.twitter.com/4cUMm2ZVDn
Reliable sources have now confirmed Mendes DID offer Cristiano Ronaldo to City.— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) August 19, 2021
That means Ronaldo was actually open to signing for them.
Imagine the fume from United fans who have spent the last decade acting like he's been on loan all this time 😂
Tottenham's rumored refusal to accept less than $206 million for City's apparent top target, England captain Harry Kane, could play a decisive part in any transfer for Ronaldo.
Boss Pep Guardiola has denied that City are in need of any more players and insisted that he will be happy with his existing squad when the transfer window closes on August 31.
Guardiola is yet to sign a direct replacement for Sergio Aguero, though, since the club's all-time top scorer departed at the end of last season, leaving City looking toothless in their 1-0 opening day Premier League defeat at Tottenham.
Cristiano Ronaldo is seeking to engineer a move to Manchester City, according to L'Équipe.— CR7 (@theCR7en) August 24, 2021
Could this Move happen? pic.twitter.com/OVVAUr1gSt
Jorge Mendes is 'working overtime' and is seeking to engineer a part swap deal, with Bernardo Silva moving to Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo heading to #ManCity. Mendes is confident that a deal can be done, based on conversations with @ManCity.— City Xtra (@City_Xtra) August 24, 2021
[@lequipe via @GFFN]
With the clock ticking down in the absence of a deal for Kane, Guardiola would undoubtedly be keen on adding a striker as prolific as Ronaldo to his ranks – although his arrival would be hugely controversial in the context of the fierce rivalry between Manchester's two top-flight clubs.
Ronaldo was a sensation at United, joining them as a teenager in 2003 and going on to win three Premier League titles, the Champions League and, in 2007 and 2008, the Premier League Player of the Season.
When he was asked about moving to mega-wealthy City in 2015, Ronaldo grinned at the suggestion and asked the BBC: "You think the money is going to change my mind now?
Cristiano Ronaldo to man city rumours just for Man city to end up buying no striker... pic.twitter.com/19HoppxthT— Tamjidul (@bruhstfu6969) August 24, 2021
The Ronaldo deal to city just wont happen though because it requires UTD recalling him from loan and selling to a direct rival. Non starter— Sean (@SeanDOlfc) August 24, 2021
"I don't think so. I think it is not going to be the problem, because if you will speak about the money, I will go to Qatar.
"[They] maybe have more money than Manchester City, but it's not about the money. It's about the passion."
United fans on social media have pointed to and been teased about those words, which have added resonance given that another of the clubs potentially contending for Ronaldo's signature, Paris Saint-Germain, are bankrolled by Qatari owners.
Ronaldo to Man City. Scenes on 6th November pic.twitter.com/xEWGLqI54O— hmmmmm (@gupshup__) August 24, 2021
Based off the current reports, it seems that the two clubs most likely to go for Ronaldo are Man. City or PSG...— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) August 24, 2021
Man. City may go for Ronaldo should they fail to secure Kane.
PSG may go for Ronaldo should Mbappe leave the club.
It's going to be an interesting week... 👀 pic.twitter.com/GsYs1xdHEU
PSG supremo Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani's brother, Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, tweeted a doctored photo of the club's latest marquee signing, Lionel Messi, alongside Ronaldo in a club shirt soon after news broke of Real Madrid's bid to sign Kylian Mbappe broke on Monday, adding: "Maybe?"
That development came shortly after L'Equipe's story, and PSG would almost undoubtedly be able to afford a fee and Ronaldo's sizeable wages should they sell Mbappe.
Paris have turned down an initial offer of $188 million from Madrid, who are expected to respond with an improved bid for the World Cup winner who is out of contract next year.
Ronaldo when Sir Alex rings whilst he’s on his way to collect £400,000-a-week and a treble at City— Jordan (@FourFourJordan) August 24, 2021
Ronaldo has spoken to a number of Man City players and he feels a deal can be done by the weekend. pic.twitter.com/DSwJ1nLyJk— Fancy Di Maria (@FancyDiMaria_) August 24, 2021
Mbappe's departure would clear the way for Ronaldo to join PSG, where he could combine with Messi and Neymar in a formidable attacking trio at the Ligue 1 giants.
With just days remaining to complete a deal, Ronaldo would surely need to force any move a week after he labeled transfer speculation "disrespect for me as a man and as a player".
The 36-year-old used a social media post to distance himself from talk of a return to Real Madrid, calling media coverage of his future "frivolous".
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