Cristiano Ronaldo will not be sealing a fairytale return to former club Sporting Lisbon this summer because ‘his career plans do not go through Portugal’, according to his agent Jorge Mendes.
The 36-year-old’s future at Juventus has been uncertain for some weeks now, with the club missing out on the Serie A title for the first time in a decade as well as crashing out of this season’s Champions League at the last-16 stage.
Relentless speculation increased earlier this week when his own mother, Dolores Aveiro, fuelled rumours of a return to his first professional senior side when speaking to Sporting fans following their club’s first Primeira Liga title success since 2002.
Cristiano Ronaldo (left) will not be returning to Portuguese football this summer, according to his agent Jorge Mendes (right)
Ronaldo’s mother, Dolores Aveiro (right), fuelled rumours of a Sporting Lisbon return this week
But in quotes given to Portuguese outlet Record, Mendes denied that Portugal star Ronaldo would be returning to club football in his home country anytime soon.
‘Cristiano is proud of the title won by Sporting, in fact, as he has publicly demonstrated,’ Mendes said.
‘But at the moment his career plans do not go through Portugal’.
During wild scenes of fans celebrating on the streets following Sporting’s title win on Wednesday, Dolores spoke from her balcony and underlined her commitment to persuading Ronaldo to head back to his homeland.
But Mendes insisted the Juventus star’s career plans ‘do not go through Portugal’ right now
‘I’ll talk to him to bring him back. Next year he will play in Alvalade [Sporting’s stadium],’ she said.
If his mother’s persuasion tactics eventually do the trick, it would signal the Portuguese talisman’s return to the club where it all began in 2002 before taking the step up to Manchester United.
But Ronaldo is expected to look to secure a transfer away regardless of whether he can be tempted back to Portuguese football, with Juventus currently sitting outside of the top four and Europa League football a definite possibility next season with just two league games of this campaign left.
Ronaldo’s first professional senior club was Sporting before he moved to Manchester United
Juventus are also on course to lose out on £78m, as Sportsmail has reported, if they fail to finish in the top four.
The Turin-based outfit will however not allow him to leave for nothing, meaning club chiefs Andrea Agnelli and Fabio Paratici have their work cut out to find a suitor willing to pay around £25million.
It was revealed in midweek that the major financial gamble taken by Juventus in 2018 by signing Ronaldo from Real Madrid has cost them around £293m (€340m).
But despite recent speculation, Juventus vice-chairman Pavel Nedved has insisted Ronaldo will see out the rest of his lucrative contract at the Allianz Stadium.
Ronaldo is still the top scorer in Serie A this season despite Juventus sitting fifth in the table
‘For me, Ronaldo can’t be touched,’ Nedved told DAZN. ‘He has a contract until June 30, 2022 and will stay. What happens after that remains to be seen.’
Ronaldo has scored 35 goals in 42 appearances across all competitions this season as his fine form in front of goal continues.
His 28 goals in Serie A this term sees him lead the way for goals scored in the league, six ahead of Inter Milan star Romelu Lukaku and Atalanta’s Luis Muriel.