Real Madrid legend Ronaldo linked with sensational Barcelona move
The Portuguese made a triumphant return to the club in the summer, but while he has continued his career-long trend of finding the net, the Man Utd that he has discovered is far from the strength of the one he left in 2009.
Indeed, more than halfway through the Premier League season, the Red Devils lie seventh in the standings.
Although Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked, Ralf Rangnick has been placed in temporary charge and there has been little improvement in the team’s fortunes.
Their last league fixture ended in an embarrassing 1-0 loss against Wolves, in which United were outplayed at home. In seven matches, meanwhile, the only occasion on which they have scored more than a single goal was against Burnley.
Such indifferent form has led to reports that many players are considering their futures, among them Ronaldo.
Why Ronaldo will stay at Man Utd
The reason why it has been touted is the strong relationship between his agent, Jorge Mendes, and Barcelona director of football Mateu Alemany.
Beyond Ronaldo’s history with Real Madrid, there are practical difficulties that make this move impossible to see.
Foremost among these is how Barcelona could possibly pay his wages. Even if there are no Financial Fair Play rules against transfer fees in Spain, Barca are constrained by how much they can spend on wages. They have already surpassed that figure this season and even if Ronaldo were to arrive in the summer, they would likely need to make enormous savings to have him registered.
Indeed, there are few clear destinations for Ronaldo at present.
Man Utd would not consider letting him go to Manchester City, while fellow super-rich club Newcastle will not be in the Champions League next term and cannot be considered serious contenders to sign him yet.
At Paris Saint-Germain, they already have enough on their plate with Lionel Messi and Neymar, while a switch back to Real Madrid seems unlikely given than Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland both appear Bernabeu-bound.
Ronaldo may, therefore, be unhappy at Man Utd, but he may have to make do with the Old Trafford club for the time being.