Paris: Premier League champions Manchester City are reported to be closing in on a deal to bring Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo back to England after Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri today said he "no longer has any intention" to play for the club.
Despite Juventus insisting the 36-year-old was staying with the Serie A giants, media reports in Italy suggested that the former Real Madrid and Manchester United star has decided to leave.
Ahead of Juve's Serie A match against Empoli tomorrow, Allegri said, "Yesterday, Cristiano told me that he no longer has any intention to play for Juventus. For this reason he will not be called up for tomorrow's game. Things change, it's a law of life. Juventus remains, which is the most important thing. He is to be thanked for what he has done, also as an example amongst the youngsters. But as I said, we must go on."
Ronaldo reportedly told his Juve teammates he was set to leave this month after two years at the 36-time Serie A champions. He was at the training ground this morning but left before taking part in any sessions. It is believed he turned up to say his farewells.
Sky Sport Italia claimed the Portugal captain has even cleaned out his locker in the dressing room at Juventus. If a deal is to be reached, the clock is ticking with the transfer window set to close on Tuesday.
Premier League champions City have been widely linked with a move for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner after missing out on England captain Harry Kane.
The fee, however, could be a problem with the Italians believed to be wanting in the region of 25 million euros.
Ronaldo, who has one year remaining on his contract, has also been linked with Paris Saint-Germain and a return to Madrid.
Ronaldo joined Juve in 2018 to huge fanfare.
Italy’s top scorer last season with 29 goals started the Udinese game on the bench.
Last week, Ronaldo himself rubbished reports of a move back to Real Madrid, calling them “disrespectful” and saying that stories of his departure were written with “nobody ever being concerned about trying to find out the actual truth”.
Real have since had an initial bid of 160 million euros for PSG star Kylian Mbappe rejected, but according to French media reports are set to make a second offer of 180 million.
That would close any route for Ronaldo back to the Santiago Bernabeu, although as well as the reports of a possible move to City, there have also been rumours he could join old rival Lionel Messi in Paris to replace Mbappe should the Frenchman leave.
Ronaldo scored 118 goals in 292 appearances for Manchester United early in his career before leaving for Madrid in 2009.
He joined Juve in 2018 after scoring a remarkable 450 goals in 438 appearances in a glittering nine-year spell at the Bernabeu that also included four Champions League triumphs.
At Juventus, his hopes of winning another Champions League have been thwarted, with the club failing to get beyond the quarter-finals during his time.
Last season, they were deposed as Italian champions by Inter Milan.