Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly set to meet with Manchester United officials in the next few days ahead of a Premier League return, according to claims made by Spanish newspaper El Pais.
The Madrid daily paper has reported that both teams will deny the meeting as it breaches a Fifa ruling, but the Portuguese captain is reportedly to meet with his former club before heading back to pre-season training as he seeks a return to Old Trafford.
Recently appointed manager Carlo Ancelotti is unlikely to sanction any deal that allows Ronaldo to leave the Santiago Bernabeu, having been named as Jose Mourinho’s successor on Tuesday. The Italian would much rather hold onto his prized asset as he looks to mount a challenge on all fronts for the expectant Madrid hierarchy, but risks losing Ronaldo on a free transfer next year as he continues to stall contract negotiations.
Ronaldo has privately been urged to wait 18 months, until the end of his contract, before making his last big move in football.
The Independent in London previously reported that the Premier League champions are convinced that Ronaldo wants to leave Real Madrid and believe that they are the only English club he would contemplate signing for.
United believe that Ronaldo has maintained a deep affection for the club. They are a strong contender for his signature when the player’s contract expires. What United save on not having to pay Madrid for his transfer now they could plough into a €60m signing on fee and €20m (£16.9m) a year take home pay across four years with 100 percent of his image rights – currently shared 60-40 in his favour with Real Madrid.
He was desperate to leave Old Trafford in the summer of 2008 but Sir Alex Ferguson beat a path to Portugal to persuade him to give United one last campaign before satisfying his long-held ambition to play for Real Madrid.
The 28-year-old currently takes home €10m (£8.4m) basic pay topped up by a further €7.5m (£6.3m) in bonuses. He also earns €16m (£13.5m) in commercial deals. Madrid are willing to boost his annual basic take home pay to €15m (£12.7m) and negotiate his image rights – taking a slightly smaller cut – but they fear there is a real possibility they could lose him for nothing.