Manchester United in pole position to sign Cristiano Ronaldo after rivals City drop out the race

Manchester United are leading the race to sensationally bring Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford after rivals Manchester City withdrew their interest in the Juventus forward.

Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes was in talks with City after the Portugal star decided to leave Juventus, but it emerged on Friday afternoon that Pep Guardiola’s side will not sign him. 

The Italian club wanted a £25million transfer fee but City were pushing for a free transfer and for Ronaldo to take a pay cut on his £500,000-a-week wages.

According the Manchester Evening News, United offered Ronaldo a contract on Friday morning following a late intervention from former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who spoke to Ronaldo about the plans regarding his future.

The publication adds that United are lining up a two-year deal for Ronaldo and are planning for him to have a medical in Lisbon. 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opened up on Manchester United's effort to sign Cristiano Ronaldo at his press conference on Friday afternoon

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opened up on Manchester United’s effort to sign Cristiano Ronaldo at his press conference on Friday afternoon

Solskjaer said Bruno Fernandes has been talking to Ronaldo, his Portugal team-mate, about his future and that he would always be welcome back at Old Trafford

Solskjaer said Bruno Fernandes has been talking to Ronaldo, his Portugal team-mate, about his future and that he would always be welcome back at Old Trafford

United then publicly signalled their interest in the Old Trafford legend when Solskjaer, at his Friday press conference, made it clear that he would welcome the 36-year-old five-time Ballon d’Or winner back.

‘Ronaldo is a legend of the club, and the greatest player of all time, if you ask me,’ said the United boss. ‘I didn’t think he’d leave Juventus. We’ve always had a good communication and I know Bruno (Fernandes) has been talking to him. 

‘He knows what we feel about him. If he was ever going to move away from Juventus, he knows we’re here.

‘When you are Messi, Ronaldo, Pogba or Bruno, you have to read a lot about yourself. Let’s see what happens with Cristiano, because he is a legend of this club.

‘I don’t want to speculate too much on Cristiano. We focus on the ones we have here. I’ve said many times, when you’re Man United or (Lionel) Messi, Ronaldo you read a lot about yourself.

‘I was fortunate to play with him and coach him. Everyone who has played with him has a soft spot for him.’

Asked if he wanted another new player after signing Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane this summer, Solskjaer added: ‘Any manager is always looking for a little bit more.

‘I have to say the transfer business we’ve done this summer, I’m happy with the numbers, quality and personalities we’ve brought in. They fit each other really well. You’re never comfortable as a manager, but the chemistry is there and I’m very happy with what we’ve done.’

Ronaldo and Solskjaer were team-mates at United during the Portugal star's time at the club

Ronaldo and Solskjaer were team-mates at United during the Portugal star’s time at the club

Solskjaer said that he is open to new additions at United before the transfer window shuts

Solskjaer said that he is open to new additions at United before the transfer window shuts

United have so far swooped for Jadon Sancho (left) and Raphael Varane in the summer window

United have so far swooped for Jadon Sancho (left) and Raphael Varane in the summer window

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri confirmed earlier on Friday that Ronaldo has played his last game for the Italian giants and at that point, it seemed that the Portugal star was destined to sign for Pep Guardiola’s City side.

Allegri said: ‘Yesterday, Ronaldo told me that he no longer has any intention to play for Juventus. 

‘He is not available for tomorrow’s match against Empoli. He’s going to look for a new club after three years here.’

Ronaldo bid his team-mates farewell in a 40-minute meeting with his Juventus team-mates on Friday morning and his move to City looked to be becoming a formality.

But Solskjaer, who played alongside Ronaldo at United, made a dramatic intervention amid outcry from United’s fanbase at the thought of one of their finest ever players joining their fierce rivals.  

City manager Guardiola was coy over the prospect of signing Ronaldo at his own press conference on Friday afternoon, shortly before it emerged the club had withdrawn from the race to sign him.

Pep Guardiola said Ronaldo will decide his future soon amid the City and United interest

Pep Guardiola said Ronaldo will decide his future soon amid the City and United interest

Massimiliano Allegri confirmed that Ronaldo has played his last game for Juventus

Massimiliano Allegri confirmed that Ronaldo has played his last game for Juventus

‘In the three or four days anything can happen,’ he said. ‘There are few players, Ronaldo included who decide where they are going to play. There are many things that are far away. 

‘We have had the chance to enjoy the best two players in world football (Ronaldo and Messi) – all we can say is thank you. 

‘The Portuguese and Argentinian guys – what they have done, honestly, we will not watch something similar in the future. 

‘I am incredibly happy with the squad I have. More than satisfied. We are the same guys except Sergio left and Jack arrived. I focus on what we have to do and the players we have right now.’ 

Ronaldo arrived at the Juventus training ground at 9:20am on Friday morning

Ronaldo arrived at the Juventus training ground at 9:20am on Friday morning

Wayne Rooney does not believe Ronaldo will risk his legacy at United by joining Man City

Wayne Rooney does not believe Ronaldo will risk his legacy at United by joining Man City

Derby manager Wayne Rooney, another of Ronaldo’s United team-mates, dismissed the prospect of Ronaldo turning out for the blue half of Manchester. 

Rooney said: ‘I don’t know what to make of it, to be honest. ‘If you’re asking me if I think it’s possible then I have major doubts that it is a possibility.

‘Cristiano has got a great legacy at United. I don’t think he’s going to move somewhere for financial reasons.’

In a separate interview with talkSPORT, Rooney said: ‘I think Cristiano has got a very good legacy at Manchester United and I know how proud he is as a player and a person. I can’t see it, but it’s football so you never know.’

source: dailymail.co.uk