Sporting director Hugo Viana may be willing to accept the idea that Cristiano Ronaldo will not arrive any time soon, but he has not completely closed the door on the player’s return to Jose Alvalade stadium.
There are constant rumors of Ronaldo transfers and that will not change this summer.
The 37-year-old scored 24 goals for the “Red Devils” last season, but it now looks unclear about his future under new coach Erik ten Hag.
Jorge Mendes has reportedly been in the shadows in preparation for a potential exit from Old Trafford, and has recently linked Ronaldo with Bayern and Chelsea. A third option has also appeared on the horizon, an emotional but unlikely return to Sporting.
However, Viana said: “I don’t think that would be possible, not now, but you never know… he has one year left on the contract and we’ll see what he decides.”
Ronaldo made his debut for Sporting Lisbon on 14 August 2002 under the management of Laszlo Bologne in the UEFA Champions League qualifier against Inter at the age of 17 years, 6 months and 9 days.
With “The Lions” he barely had time to play 31 games, as he scored 5 goals and provided 6 assists before Sir Alex Ferguson joined him to Manchester United in the summer of 2003 for €19 million.
Sporting Lisbon has already qualified for the Champions League next season after finishing second in the league, which is a “temptation” that may seem exciting for Ronaldo, the tournament’s top scorer in its history.
Ronaldo made his appearance in football through Sporting, a history that means a lot to the Portuguese star who used to crown the most important football tournaments.
“He should come back,” his mother, Dolores, said last year. “I already told him, son, before I die I want to see you come back to Sporting,” she said.
According to her comment, Ronaldo said: “Let’s see.”
And if the dream deal comes through, Ronaldo won’t be the first player to return to Sporting in recent years, and it appears to be a strategy the Portuguese club is pursuing.
“Yes, without a doubt I would like Ronaldo to finish his career here, at his home,” said Sporting president Bruno de Carvalho.
He emphasized that “he represents a lot for us and it would be nice to end his career here. He is a world ambassador. He always talks well about us and how much he loves us.”
He concluded: “We are doing everything we can to get some players back to the club. We have already done that with Nani (who loaned out to Sporting for the 2014-15 season) and we will see that often.”