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Chelsea pondering move for Cristiano Ronaldo after a new twist

Chelsea were one of several clubs contacted by Ronaldo’s representatives last summer after the Portuguese superstar made the decision to leave Manchester United.

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench during the Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton. Picture date: Saturday August 27, 2022.© PA

Sports deskSunday World

It was a transfer that failed to materialise last summer, but Chelsea may be about to renew their interest in signing Cristiano Ronaldo.

Chelsea were one of several clubs contacted by Ronaldo’s representatives last summer after the Portuguese superstar made the decision to leave Manchester United.

Yet Blues boss Thomas Tuchel was not keen to pursue his interest in the 37-year-old, as Chelsea switched their attentions to former Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Chelsea's owners made it clear that they were keen to bring Ronaldo to Stamford Bridge, with his huge commercial appeal off the field adding to his enduring brilliance on it.

That interest remains and with Tuchel now removed from the equation after Graham Potter replaced him as Chelsea manager last month, the club are again being tempted by a move for Ronaldo, with a short-term deal possible in January as he looks to end his miserable spell at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo missed Saturday's game between Chelsea and United after he was dropped by manager Erik ten Hag for refusing to play against Tottenham when he was asked to come off the bench late in the game.

He then left the ground before the final whistle in a scene in a double show of dissent that forced the club to fine him for his latest act of indiscipline.

The incident will ensure Ronaldo leaves United in the January transfer window and Chelsea are now emerging as one of his more likely destinations.

A deal until the end of the season has been floated, with the option for an extension into a second season if all parties are happy next summer.

That could be the ideal solution for Ronaldo and United, with a parting of the ways between the two set to be discussed in the next 48 hours as talks are planned to resolve his future.

Sources have claimed Ronaldo may even be prepared to take a pay-cut on his current United salary to secure a move away from United, with Old Trafford legend Gary Neville suggesting his time at the club is now over.

"This needs to end now,” declared Neville in the Sky Sports studio.

"There aren't many Manchester United fans who would now have Ronaldo in their starting eleven. They are better without him - they score more goals without him and they win more points without him. Manchester United are a better team without him.

"For me, Erik ten Hag had no other option. That's the second time Ronaldo has left Old Trafford before his team-mates have got into the changing room. That is unacceptable.

"When you look at whether Ronaldo should be selected, which is obviously Ronaldo's main problem at this moment in time - that he's not playing - as great a player as he's been, Manchester United are better without him.

"Erik ten Hag knows that, so I think the only thing the club and Ronaldo can do is get together in this next week or so and end the relationship. Cristiano is too good a player, too fantastic a character and the club have got to move on."

A decision on Ronaldo's future could be made as early as next week, with a termination of his contract one of many options on the table.

MLS clubs in America have expressed a interest in signing Ronaldo and that could be an option, but he believes he can extend his goal scoring record in the Champions League to ensure he is not caught in that race by his great rival Lionel Messi.

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Meanwhile, bookmakers Paddy Power have slashed their odds on Ronaldo signing for Chelsea in January amid rumours that have been circulating in recent days.

They also pulled off one of their stunts on Saturday, as they planted a bench outside Old Trafford with the inscription:In honour of Ronaldo’s second stint at Man United. £480,000 a week to sit on a bench.’

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