Soccer-Where will Cristiano Ronaldo go next? Former Manchester United player's options


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Portugal training - Cidade do Futebol, Oeiras, Portugal- November 14, 2022 Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo during training REUTERS/Pedro Nunes/File Photo

(Reuters) - Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United last month after a controversial interview in which he said he had no respect for manager Erik ten Hag. With the January transfer window close, what is his next move?

WHAT HAS RONALDO SAID?

Former Real Madrid and Juventus forward Ronaldo said ex-United manager Alex Ferguson persuaded him to rejoin the club for a second spell at Old Trafford, where he won eight major trophies from 2003-09.

Ronaldo added in the interview with TalkTV that he was close to joining United's local rivals Manchester City before Ferguson intervened.

He also confirmed reports that he had rejected a massive offer to join a Saudi Arabian side, among others, during the close season to remain at United.

Spanish media said during the Qatar World Cup said that Ronaldo was closing in on a deal to join Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr for a staggering 173 million pounds ($211.65 million) per year, but the player said the reports were not true.

The 37-year-old is unlikely to retire yet, having stated that Qatar would probably be his last World Cup and that he plans to stop playing at 40.

Below are the odds and most popular bets for Ronaldo's next destination, according to Oddschecker.

CHELSEA (16/1)

Ronaldo had been linked in British media with a switch to Chelsea at the end of last season, with the London club in need of firepower up front. Reports in England said Chelsea could renew their interest.

SPORTING (8/1)

Ronaldo joined United from Portuguese side Sporting for 12 million pounds in 2003 -- breaking the then British transfer record for a teenager -- after catching the eye of Ferguson and the club's players in a friendly.

His mother, Dolores Aveiro, has previously said she wants to eventually see him back at the Lisbon club.

NEWCASTLE UNITED (12/1)

English Premier League side Newcastle United, who have Saudi Arabian owners after their October 2021 takeover by a consortium which includes the nation's Public Investment Fund, have also shown interest in Ronaldo according to British media.

ANY MLS CLUB (16/1)

Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham -- a former United player -- said in an interview in 2020 that Messi and Ronaldo were potential targets, underscoring his club's global ambition.

Several top players have finished their careers in the United States recently and Ronaldo has not closed the door on a switch to the MLS.

PARIS ST GERMAIN (14/1)

Ronaldo could form an attacking lineup that would be the envy of every club if he decides to head to France with Paris St Germain, who boast the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in their ranks.

However, PSG President Nasser Al-Khelaifi has appeared to close the door on a move for Ronaldo, saying in an interview with Sky News that they were happy with their forwards.

"The three players that we have (Messi, Neymar and Mbappe), it's very difficult, but I wish him all the best. He's fantastic and he's still an amazing player."

Al-Khelaifi's comments come after Bayern Munich CEO Oliver Kahn ruled out Ronaldo moving to the Bundesliga giants.

($1 = 0.8174 pounds)

(Compiled by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond and Ken Ferris)

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