Cristiano Ronaldo rejects Saudi Arabia offer; Chelsea not interested

Cristiano Ronaldo rejects Saudi Arabia offer; Chelsea not interested

The more the Cristiano Ronaldo news cycle churns, the more it appears that the all-time great doesn’t have a clear next destination if he is to leave Manchester United this summer.

Man United and its new manager, Erik ten Hag, have quite clearly stated that there is no intention to sell the Portuguese star forward, who has a year left to run on his contract at Old Trafford. Ronaldo reportedly wants out though, with time dwindling on his career and Manchester United not competing in the UEFA Champions League this season. Despite his 24 goals in all competitions last season, Man United finished sixth in the Premier League and will feature in the UEFA Europa League this season.

Chelsea is reportedly the latest to reject the possibility to sign him, while Ronaldo himself has reportedly turned down an outrageous financial package from an unnamed Saudi Arabian club to play out his next chapter in the Middle East, according to ESPN. The club was said to have made a $30 million offer to Man United and a two-year, $275 million wage package, which would have made the 37-year-old the highest-paid player in the world by far.

Moving to Saudi Arabia certainly wouldn’t jive with his intention to play at the highest level and compete for the most prestigious trophies, though, and it’s not as if Ronaldo is hurting for money, with him coming in third in Forbes’s list of highest-paid athletes in the world behind Lionel Messi and LeBron James.

As for Chelsea, it appears to have a need at forward after loaning Romelu Lukaku back to Inter Milan following his disappointing return to Stamford Bridge last season, although manager Thomas Tuchel indicated that wasn’t his top priority. The club has signed English winger Raheem Sterling from Man City and is set to add Napoli center back Kalidou Koulibaly. After losing Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen and being on the verge of bidding farewell to César Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso, the club has its eye on fortifying its defense.

“I would not rule [signing another striker] out but right now it is not the priority,” Tuchel said. “The priority right now is defense, it’s not a secret. From there we need to see what’s possible.”

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The Guardian reported that Chelsea has no interest in Ronaldo despite new owner Todd Boehly meeting with his agent, Jorge Mendes, in recent weeks. There’s also the matter of Man United agreeing to sell to a fellow Big Six rival, knowing that it could potentially come back to bite the club in the table. Either way, it doesn’t seem like a bid from the Blues is in the offing.

Previously, Bayern Munich publicly said it wasn’t interested—“As highly as I rate Cristiano Ronaldo as one of the greatest, a transfer wouldn’t be a fit with our philosophy,” was club director Oliver Kahn’s response—while reports earlier this week stated that Ronaldo was “offered” to PSG by Mendes, but was turned down. Given that his wage demands wouldn’t fit even PSG’s flexible structure and that tactically it wouldn’t make much sense amid the presence of fellow stars Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, that’s no big surprise.

That doesn’t leave a lot of alternatives for Ronaldo, who is not currently with Man United on its preseason tour in Thailand, with family and personal issues cited. Ronaldo himself posted an image on social media Thursday that indicated he’s at the very least working out on his own while the rumor mill swirls about. As for Man United, there is, publicly anyway, nothing to gossip about. 

“He’s not with us and it’s due to personal issues,” ten Hag said at a recent press conference. ”We are planning with Cristiano Ronaldo for this season so that’s it. I’m looking forward to working with him.

“Cristiano is not for sale. Cristiano is in our plans and we want to [have] success together.”

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