Cristiano Ronaldo’s plan to leave Manchester United this summer has hit a new low after Barcelona rejected the opportunity to sign him.
The Portuguese superstar was offered to the Catalan giants earlier this month despite his synonymity with their bitter rivals Real Madrid. Ronaldo is determined to depart Old Trafford this summer and he has not reported to the club’s pre-season tour of Asia due to ‘family reasons’ but his exit strategy has become increasingly desperate.
Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes has offered him across European clubs but has been unable to find a buyer for the striker. Ronaldo was left “upset” at seeing his pay slashed at United after each member of the squad was hit with a 25 per cent cut to their weekly wage – with the 37-year-old, who is the club’s highest earner, seeing the greatest impact on his pay packet.
That was due to the club’s failure to qualify for the Champions League, which Ronaldo is desperate to continue participating in. The Portuguese was rejected by Atletico Madrid on the grounds that they cannot afford to fund the move due to their financial situation while Real Madrid – where he is the all-time record goal scorer with 450 goals in 438 appearances – have no intention of re-signing him.
Spanish radio station Cope has outlined how Mendes even sensationally offered his client to Barcelona this summer but received a negative response. That Ronaldo would rather play for the Catalan club – with his Madrid association – next season rather than United speaks volumes of his intentions to leave.
It comes amid ongoing negotiations between United and Barcelona for Frenkie de Jong. The two clubs have agreed on an initial transfer fee of £56.2million with a total package in the region of £72million. Barca are set to hold a meeting with De Jong informing him of their hope that he exits this summer.
The forward’s potential move to Bayern Munich was ruled out by the German giants last week despite suggestions he could replace Robert Lewandowski, whose move to Barcelona was confirmed on Saturday. No other Bundesliga club would be able to finance a deal for Ronaldo.
The Portuguese superstar’s options have narrowed down after Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel came out against the idea – making any move to Stamford Bridge extremely unlikely – after new Blues owner Todd Boehly considered launching an extraordinary bid to sign the striker.
The uncertainty over Ronaldo’s future has been damaging for United due to their dearth of attacking options. Edinson Cavani being among a glut of first-team exits from over the summer and no forwards have yet arrived. Ajax forward Antony is said to be among the leading transfer targets for new boss Erik ten Hag, who is keen to reunite with the 22-year-old. The Brazilian has told the Dutch giants he wants to be considered for a United move while Barcelona’s Memphis Depay has also been linked.