KEY POINTS

  • Cristiano Ronaldo remains linked to a move away from Juventus
  • Ronaldo is considering a return to Real Madrid and not Manchester United, a report says
  • Madrid may not welcome the Portuguese's return due to his huge salary

Cristiano Ronaldo is still likely to depart Juventus, but contrary to rumors, the Portuguese icon isn't considering a return to Manchester United, a report says.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has been the subject of transfer rumors in the past few weeks. Despite winning back-to-back Serie A titles with Juventus, reports still link Ronaldo to a move away from Italy and back to United. However, the 35-year-old may be contemplating a return to Real Madrid instead, Spanish outlet Marca reported.

Widespread rumors claim that since Ronaldo left Madrid in 2018, only Marcelo has kept in touch with him. However, all of this has changed in recent months, and the club’s former talisman is now looking to “rebuild bridges” with Los Blancos, the report said.

It has been said that the reconciliation between Ronaldo and Madrid may have started on “March 1,” when he attended the El Clasico match at Bernabeu. The report said that Ronaldo had organized a meeting with Madrid by calling the club’s president, Florentino Perez.

The meeting and Ronaldo’s show of support to Madrid strongly hinted that he is seriously considering a return or at least a move away from Juventus, which “would be happy to let him go” to reduce financial problems in terms of salary, the report added.

One's a crowd: the stands were empty but Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo drew a TV audience of more than 8 million when they returned to action in the Italian cup One's a crowd: the stands were empty but Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo drew a TV audience of more than 8 million when they returned to action in the Italian cup Photo: AFP / Miguel MEDINA

During Ronaldo’s peak at Madrid, Zinedine Zidane hailed him as the “best” player in history.

"There have been many players who have made history at this club,” the manager told ESPN of Ronaldo in 2017. “But nobody has done what he has, the statistics speak for that. What he has done is impressive. So I think yes [he is the best in history]."

However, Madrid reportedly isn’t too thrilled about Ronaldo’s possible return as the club could face a major problem due to his huge salary. Marca pointed out that regardless of Zidane’s take on the matter, the reigning La Liga champions “don't think second spells are always a good idea.”

Juventus manager Andrea Pirlo, on the other hand, has yet to comment on Ronaldo’s situation and only hopes his star forward could prolong his stellar career.

"He is a great professional, as we already knew," Pirlo recently told DAZN of Ronaldo after Juve’s win against Cagliari. "He is a real champion and sets the example for everyone around him, both in the matches and in training. The only advice I can give him is to keep going in the same way."