Cristiano Ronaldo close to competing £131m Man United transfer: Squad number agreed ahead of massive contract offer
Cristiano Ronaldo has taken a step closer to returning to Manchester United after agreeing to retake his old number seven shirt at Old Trafford.
The 32-year-old has informed Real Madrid of his desire to leave the club, reportedly because of the fallout from a probe on him by the Spanish tax authorities. Further speculation has increased over a return to United, with the player apparently telling his agent, Jorge Mendes, to do everything possible to get him back to Old Trafford this summer.
Some are taking the news of Ronaldo’s decision with a pinch of salt because it is not the first time he has alluded to the possibility of leaving the Santiago Bernabeu. But it appears it could well happen, with the Red Devils in the driving seat to secure his services.
Ronaldo enjoyed six glorious years in the Premier League, developing from a teenager brimming with potential into one of the world’s best players. He became a fan favourite, thriving under Sir Alex Ferguson, helping the team win the FA Cup, three Premier League titles and the Champions League before making the then world-record £80million move to Los Blancos in 2009.
Eric Cantona and David Beckham were among those who made the number 7 shirt so legendary at United, but it is currently unattached. Whether it going back to Ronaldo is a condition of him signing remains to be seen, but he will nonetheless take it back.
Current boss Jose Mourinho worked with Ronaldo at Real, during his three-year spell as Real coach. The pair had a mixed relationship, but did have success in winning the Copa Del Rey in 2011 and LaLiga title a year later. It will be a challenge for them to reconcile if Ronaldo does return to Old Trafford, but the player’s relationship with Ferguson and the fans will be the main reason for him wanting to come back.
The buyout clause in his contract at Real is believed to be €1bn, around £800million, and he recently penned a new deal to keep him in Madrid until he is 36. While United will not need to pay that much, he will still likely break the world transfer record again, which could be seen as a risk for a player of his age.
Paris Saint-Germain will also be keen on him, as they look to lure another world beater to France. But United appear to be in the driving seat, as the race for Ronaldo hots up.