Cristiano Ronaldo has played down recent speculation linking him with a return to England. The Real Madrid forward has again been strongly linked with a transfer back to his former club Manchester United in recent days, while Premier League rivals Chelsea have also been mentioned as a possible destination. Speaking after he scored four goals against Elche on Tuesday evening to take his tally to seven in two games and 10 for the season, however, the current Ballon d’Or winner insisted that his focus remains on the club he joined for a then-record £80 million transfer fee in 2009.
“They are all speculations about my future, he said, according to Britain’s Daily Mail. “My future is Madrid. I'm happy this season is going well, and my future, I will not speak about, it does not make sense.”
Rumors of Ronaldo’s possible exit reached a fever pitch last summer but were then quashed when he signed a new five-year contract to make him the then-highest paid player in the world. That deal makes it unlikely that the 29-year-old will now be moving on any time soon.
Yet Ronaldo’s future has again been called into question following his comments disagreeing with the decisions of Real Madrid to sell Angel di Maria and Xabi Alonso in the summer. At the same time Ronaldo has continued to state his love for Manchester United, where he spent six years and developed from a raw teenager to the world’s best player. Last week new United manager Louis van Gaal refused to rule out a move to bring the forward to Old Trafford.
“Yes, but it's always a discussion in the papers, and I don't think the media shall buy Ronaldo,” he said in response to whether he could sign Ronaldo, reports Sky Sports. “It is possible. That's what I have said with Falcao. Players like Ronaldo give a lot of extra to a team, but I don't think Real Madrid shall sell him.”
Manchester United have this summer shown a willingness to spend big to return the club to the top, having smashed its transfer record to sign Di Maria for close to £60 million, while also agreeing to pay huge wages for Radamel Falcao in a one-year loan deal. Whether they would be prepared to pay even more for a player who will be 30 next summer remains doubtful, however.
Chelsea, despite the wealth of owner Roman Abramovich, may have similar impediments to getting a deal done. In recent seasons, Chelsea has been more modest in its expenditure in order to comply with Financial Fair Play rules. And there is another factor that renders even slimmer chances of Ronaldo moving to Stamford Bridge. Ronaldo and Chelsea boss José Mourinho had a much-publicized falling out toward the end of their time together at Madrid, with barbs in the media being exchanged following Mourinho’s departure. Mourinho continued the theme of that discourse in recent days.
“You would not find us hanging around together,” he said, reports Spanish sports daily Marca. “The relationship does not exist, but the memories of his impact do. I have to remind myself that he is a goal machine who helped me become a Liga champion, win the Copa del Rey and the Supercopa.”
While Ronaldo refused to respond to his countryman’s words, it is difficult to see the two working together in the near future. “It is an issue that is not important, what matters is Madrid,” Ronaldo replied on Tuesday. “It is fine for me personally, I want to help this shirt. On these topics, it is not for me to speak out.”