January 11, The Athletic UK correspondents Dan Sheldon and Oliver Kay jointly
The reporter team, revealing the inside story of Ronaldo joining Riyadh Victory, the column title is—Inside Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr: Rejection, revenge and soft power
(To show respect, each different paragraph will be published separately)
When Ronaldo made it clear last summer that he wanted to leave United, his long-term agent Mendes was tasked with finding a new club for the 37-year-old.
But there is one key condition: the potential next home needs to qualify for the Champions League.
It soon became clear, however, that despite Ronaldo’s 24 goals in all competitions for United in 2021-22, there was little interest among Europe’s elite.
New Chelsea boss Burleigh met Mendes in Portugal in June and was drawn to the idea of bringing Ronaldo to Stamford Bridge, but manager Thomas Tuchel dismissed the idea outright.
Bayern officials had a dialogue with Mendes, but CEO Oliver Kahn said: “Every club has its own philosophy and I’m not sure if signing Ronaldo is the right signal for Bayern.”
It is understood that Mendes called Real Madrid many times in the summer, hoping to bring Ronaldo to Real Madrid, but Real Madrid ignored them at all.
The other major clubs are understood to have all rejected offers to sign Ronaldo, even though they have been told United may be willing to pay most of his salary this season.
United might be willing to cover the majority of his salary for this season.)
Just days after Portugal was eliminated from the World Cup, Ronaldo was photographed training alone at Real Madrid’s Valdebebas base, prompting some speculation about his return to the club, where he has scored in nine seasons
An amazing 450 balls.
The reality was more immediate: Real Madrid opened the door to their all-time goalscorer to help him train physically while looking for a new club, but despite the players’ hopes for a reunion, the idea never occurred to Real Madrid.