The Manchester United forward, 37, wants to leave the Premier League club this summer in search of Champions League football. His options are limited, with the likes of Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich and Chelsea all quashing speculation in recent weeks.
Ronaldo is as prolific as ever, scoring 24 goals for United term. Yet the ageing superstar isn’t as dynamic as he once was and will turn 38 in February. He’s still the captain of Portugal and has one year remaining on his United deal, with the option of a further year.
Very few have speculated whether Real are interested in re-signing Ronaldo this month. The veteran is the greatest scorer in the Spanish club’s history, finding the net 450 times in just 438 games. It’s a record that helped him become a five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Yet Ronaldo’s former teammate Karim Benzema is now the main man at the Bernabeu. The France inernational, 34, has spent much of his career playing the supporting role at Real but is now their talisman, inspiring them to La Liga and Champions League glory last term. Benzema is the overwhelming favourite to win the Ballon d’Or in October.
As such, Perez doesn’t feel the need to re-sign Ronaldo. The Spanish administrator was asked by a fan if Real are interested in their former player after the club’s 2-0 win against Eintracht Frankfurt in the UEFA Super Cup in Helsinki on Wednesday night.
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Perez replied: “Cristiano? Again? At 38?” He then walked away laughing. It was perhaps the wrong time to ask Perez as Benzema had played a key role in Wednesday’s victory. The Frenchman scored their second goal and lifted the trophy as captain.
Ronaldo is still 37 but will turn 38 in February. He started United’s opening day defeat to Brighton from the bench last Sunday and it’s unclear whether new manager Erik ten Hag will give him the nod for their upcoming game against Brentford on Saturday.
Ronaldo missed United’s pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia for “personal issues”. Speaking in July, Ten Hag confirmed Ronaldo is not for sale. “We are planning with Ronaldo for this season – that’s it,” he insisted. “I’m looking forward to working with him.”
Ten Hag added: “He hasn’t told me this [he wants to leave]. I have read, but as I say, Cristiano is not for sale, he’s in our plans and we want to get success together. I spoke with him before this issue came up. I had a conversation with him and had a real good talk.”
Roy Keane has urged Ten Hag to end Ronaldo’s transfer saga, one way or another. “I would say that if they move Ronaldo on in the next week or two, then the manager has put a marker down and it is fine, United will survive,” he told the Off The Ball podcast.
Keane went on to say: “I think if United decide, if the deal suits everybody, you can let him go. But I don’t think United are in a position to allow a player who guarantees you 20 goals to walk out the door.”