While the 2022 World Cup might have got underway on Sunday as Ecuador picked up a 2-0 victory against Qatar, it is a certain Cristiano Ronaldo who has stolen plenty of the pre-tournament headlines.
Releasing what was a jaw-dropping interview with Piers Morgan last week as he criticized both Manchester United and Erik ten Hag, it appears almost certain that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will be making a second exit from Old Trafford.
While Ronaldo might have his sights firmly focused on this winter’s World Cup adventure with Portugal, moves will certainly be being prepared behind the scenes ahead of a switch during January’s transfer window.
At the heart of a messy divorce with the former Premier League champions, we have taken a look at a few possible destinations for the 37-year-old.
While Sporting Lisbon chief Frederico Varandas might have announced last month that the Portuguese giants were not close to bringing back their former homegrown superstar over the summer, it has been widely suggested that Ronaldo is inching closer to a return back home.
With the ex-Real Madrid record-breaker making it clear that he is determined to extend his Champions League career, it appears that a move to the Jose Alvalade Stadium is the most likely path for Ronaldo in January.
With Sporting securing another campaign in Europe’s elite club tournament after claiming a silver medal finish in Portugal’s Primeira Liga last season, The Athletic have suggested that discussions between both parties have begun.
Although the Lions will undoubtedly fail to match the reported £400,000-per-week deal that Ronaldo is currently on at Manchester United, it has been reported that Sporting are keen on trying to find an outcome that suits everyone.
With the 37-year-old making it clear to the Old Trafford hierarchy that he is desperate to force a move away, Ronaldo’s boyhood club are priced at 3/1 with Unibet to complete what would be a blockbuster move.
While it might appear almost certain that Ronaldo will be on his way out of Manchester when the window reopens, could the five-time Ballon d’Or winner be staying put in the Premier League?
Although the Portuguese icon might have bagged just a single top-flight strike since opening the 2022/23 campaign, it seems that Ronaldo has a string of admirers in west London.
With it heavily reported over the summer that Chelsea’s new owner Todd Bohely was desperate to bring Ronaldo to Stamford Bridge, it appears the Blues are once again keen on striking a sensational deal.
With Graham Potter failing to offer the former European champions much of a clinical edge since arriving in the capital, The Mirror reported on Saturday that Chelsea are watching proceedings with a close eye.
Priced at 4/1 with 888sport to complete what would be a stunning switch to west London, The Mirror’s report suggests that Potter’s side are willing to immediately pounce if Ronaldo is terminated from his current deal in Manchester.
Despite failing to cement himself in ten Hag’s plans at Old Trafford, many around Stamford Bridge would be excited by a shock swoop in January.
Although Ronaldo might have eventually failed to secure a move away from United over the summer, it appeared for long spells that the 37-year-old was most likely heading back for a second stint in Italy.
With Napoli one of just a few potential options on the table for the European superstar, reports in Italy are suggesting that Napoli could be looking to reignite their interest when the window reopens.
Cruising their way to the knockout stage of this year’s Champions League, the Italian icons are in the midst of what has been a remarkable purple patch under Luciano Spalletti.
Heading into the World Cup’s festive break holding a commanding eight-point buffer at the top of the Serie A table, Napoli have their sights set on making real history this season.
Becoming a hugely attractive proposition for players across the globe and offering Champions League football for 2023, Ronaldo would undoubtedly be interested by a move to Naples.
However, while Ronaldo might be priced at 14/1 with Betfair to make an Italian return in January, the United striker will face tough competition in displacing the red-hot Victor Osimhen.
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