Sporting CP coach Ruben Amorim has ruled out bringing Cristiano Ronaldo back to the club where he started his professional career.
Ronaldo asked Manchester United to consider offers earlier this summer and was later granted additional time off for family reasons. The 37-year-old eventually returned to training and had played just 45 minutes of a pre-season friendly before Sunday’s Premier League opener against Brighton.
“We are planning for Cristiano Ronaldo for the season and that's it. I'm looking forward to working with him. Cristiano is not for sale. He is in our plans and we want success together,” United manager Erik ten Hag said at the end of July.
United have stood firm as Ronaldo remains under contract for another season, but there has also been a lack of offers for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Chelsea were heavily linked but decided against a formal pursuit, while Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid have both publicly ruled out an approach – Oliver Kahn said such a move would not fit Bayern’s philosophy, while Enrique Cerezo said it was ‘practically impossible’ for Atletico.
Now, Sporting appear to have ruled themselves out of what would have been a shock move.
“He is a Manchester United player and I will not be commenting on possibilities that don’t exist. He is a Manchester United player and it looks like he will continue [there],” Sporting boss Amorim told the media after Sunday’s Primeira Liga draw against Braga.
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Born in Madeira, Ronaldo moved to Lisbon at the age of 12 to join Sporting's academy. He initially struggled on the mainland, but went on to progress through the ranks and made his first-team debut just five years later, before then being poached by United aged 18 for £12.24m.
When Ronaldo first arrived at United, he wanted to take the number 28 shirt he had worn for Sporting. But it was Sir Alex Ferguson who persuaded him to have the number seven shirt vacated by David Beckham and he has since become synonymous with the digit.