After a pulsating few hours on Friday, Cristiano Ronaldo is once again set to pull on a Manchester United shirt.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner had - for much of the week - looked set to link up with United's arch-rivals Manchester City. However, Pep Guardiola's side ended their interest in Ronaldo yesterday afternoon, allowing the Red Devils to swoop in late and once again secure the services of a player that they sold to Real Madrid back in 2009.
At his pre-match conference for Saturday's Premier League clash with Arsenal, the City boss paid tribute to Ronaldo, calling him one of the few players on the planet with the luxury of choosing where he plays his football.
Per Football Italia, Guardiola stated: "In my personal view there are few players, Ronaldo and Messi included, who decide where they are going to play...They are the absolutely leading role in the negotiations and the desire of where they want to play.
However, in a warning of what was to come, Guardiola insisted: "In that position, right now I’m more than delighted with the squad we have and we’ll stay the same."
As full of praise as the 50-year-old Spaniard was for Ronaldo in front of the world's media, it was seemingly a different story behind the scenes.
According to a report from La Repubblica, Guardiola was unwilling to make any guarantees to the 36-year-old should he choose to swap life at Juventus for the Etihad Stadium.
"If you can come, we will try to live together. But I can’t guarantee you anything," Guardiola is believed to have told Ronaldo during a recent phone conversation - hardly the warmest of invitations!
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Contrast that with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's glowing endorsement of Ronaldo in his own press briefing yesterday and it's easy to see why the Champions League's highest-ever goalscorer might have woken up this morning feeling very relieved that his future lies at Old Trafford, rather than with City.
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Nobody is pretending that Ronaldo will be the same player that he was when he left United. 12 years ago, he departed for Spain as the reigning Ballon d'Or holder and was a frightening prospect for opposition players to come up against.
Although, no longer at the very peak of his powers, United have bagged a top-quality player who could prove crucial to them over the next couple of seasons.
Guardiola has some exceptional talent in his City squad, but the fact that he was so lukewarm on the idea of adding Ronaldo to the mix is still a big surprise.
Ronaldo to Manchester United DONE DEAL! (Via The Football Terrace)News Now - Sport News