Manchester United

Cristiano Ronaldo is close to return to Sporting Lisbon

Cristiano Ronaldo to Sporting Lisbon is reportedly ’99 percent’ done…

Manchester United have issued a response amid emerging reports on Thursday evening suggesting Cristiano Ronaldo was closing in on a fairytale return to Sporting Lisbon. Ronaldo’s future at Old Trafford remains up in the air entering the final week of the summer transfer window.

According to Caught Offside, the 37-year-old is on the verge of signing for Sporting Lisbon ahead of the September 1 deadline. It’s claimed that the transfer is so advanced that the Portuguese giants will begin preparing his presentation on Friday.

The report adds that the deal is 99 per cent done after Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, worked around the clock to find a route into the Champions League for his client. Sporting manager Ruben Amorim and his squad have been preparing for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s glorious return ‘for weeks’.

However, the Mail report that United have downplayed the chances of Ronaldo returning to the team he left for England 19 years ago this summer. The Red Devils have strongly maintained their stance throughout Erik ten Hag’s first transfer window as manager – Ronaldo is not for sale.

United missed out on Champions League football with their measly sixth-place finish last season, despite the Portuguese icon’s barrel of goals throughout his return campaign. He has a record-breaking legacy in Europe’s elite competition to maintain and improve on in the final years of his career, sparking his desire to leave M16 after just one campaign.

However, the value on the pitch, in the dressing room, and commercially he offers United have made the club reluctant to let him depart. And a lack of concrete interest in his signature hasn’t helped his efforts, with Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich and Chelsea among European heavyweights to distance themselves.

Sporting could stand alone as Ronaldo’s final opportunity to leave United and maintain his Champions League status this season. And the Primeira Liga club will be confident of challenging to progress into the knockouts after being drawn in Group D alongside Eintracht Frankfurt, Tottenham Hotspur and Marseille.

But with seven days left until the clock strikes 11pm on September 1, the lack of movement and decreasing time period for United to identify a worthy replacement makes Ronaldo’s exit improbable. The number seven could start back-to-back Premier League games on the bench when Ten Hag’s side visit Southampton on Saturday.

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