Manchester City have sensationally decided against signing Cristiano Ronaldo, seemingly leaving the path clear for an emotional return to Manchester United.
City looked all set to sign the former United star, 36, on Friday morning with reports suggesting that personal terms had been agreed and that the clubs only had to resolve the issue of a fee before Ronaldo lined up with his one-time La Liga rival Pep Guardiola.
But that all changed. In a breathless afternoon towards the end of the most remarkable transfer window in memory, the future of one of the greatest players of all time swung violently from one half of Manchester to the other.
While Guardiola was giving a press conference in which he offered only a tepid reaction to questions about the arrival of Ronaldo, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was opening the door for a move to Old Trafford, saying that, “we’ve always had a good communication” and, “if he was ever going to move away from Juventus he knows we’re here.”
Indeed, Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri had earlier confirmed that Ronaldo had told the club of his desire to leave and he was later seen boarding a private jet after saying his goodbyes at the Italian club.
It emerged that United had been in talks with Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes since Thursday night and then came a flurry of reports that City had ended their interest, with the BBC, Mail and The Athletic amongst those reporting the news.
The news seemingly leaves United as the only suitors for the player who became a global star thanks to his exploits at Old Trafford between 2003 and 2009.
He scored 118 goals in 292 games for the club, including 42 in 49 matches in a remarkable 2007-08 campaign in which United won the league and Champions League.
After winning three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, two League Cups, the Champions League and the Club World Cup, he departed for Real Madrid in a world-record move in the summer of 2009.
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