Sunday, September 19US News

Man Utd lead race for Ronaldo as Man City interest cools

United have already significantly strengthened their squad with the signings of Sancho and Varane during the transfer window as they aim to win the Premier League for the first time since 2013

Manchester United moved to the front of the race to re-sign Cristiano Ronaldo Friday after Manchester City reportedly withdrew their interest in the 36-year old.

Earlier in the day, Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri confirmed the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s desire to leave the Italian giants.

Premier League champions City had been widely linked with a move for the Portuguese forward after missing out on England captain Harry Kane.

However, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hinted the Red Devils could make a late swoop to bring Ronaldo back to Old Trafford.

Ronaldo won the first of his five Champions League titles and was first crowned the world’s best player during six years at United between 2003 and 2009.

“Cristiano has been a legend of this club, he is a legend of this club, he’s the greatest player of all time, if you ask me,” said Solskjaer, who played alongside Ronaldo.

“I didn’t think Cristiano was going turn out leaving Juve. It’s been speculation the last few days, of course.

“We’ve always had a good communication. I know Bruno (Fernandes) has been talking to him as well. He knows what we feel about him. If he was ever going to move from Juve, he knows that we’re here.”

City seemed to be in pole position to land what would have been the biggest signing in the club’s history as they look for a replacement for Sergio Aguero.

However, according to reports in England, they have now withdrawn their interest.

City manager Pep Guardiola insisted he will be happy with his squad even if they do not add another striker before the end of Tuesday’s transfer deadline.

“Cristiano will decide where he wants to play, not City or myself. Right now it looks far, far away,” said Guardiola.

“These type of players decide. They knock the door, they call and after there are situations I cannot control. It is not my business.”

United will still have to reach an agreement with Juve.

Ronaldo’s contract in Turin running until 2022 and the Italians are reportedly holding out for a transfer fee in the region of 25m euros ($29m, £21m).

“(Thursday), speaking with Cristiano, he told me that he has no intention of staying at Juve, for this reason he will not be picked (Saturday). This morning he didn’t train,” Allegri told reporters ahead of Juve’s Serie A match against Empoli Saturday.

“He was here three years, he made his contribution, he made himself available to Juve and now he’s leaving. Life goes on,” added Allegri.

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