Cristiano Ronaldo’s mother Dolores Aveiro has confirmed the superstar’s plans to leave Manchester United and discussed his retirement.
Ronaldo, 37, pledged earlier this month that his “journey is not over” at the top level. The forward wanted to depart the Red Devils this summer after just one season back at United following his high-profile return from Juventus last year, but this ambition was not realised as he remained at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo was left “upset” at seeing his pay slashed at Man United after each member of the squad was hit with a 25 per cent cut to their weekly wage due to the club’s failure to qualify for the Champions League. Yet he was unable to secure an exit, with no club willing to meet his wage demands and guarantee him regular football.
Speaking to Nova Genta, Dolores has confirmed that there are plans to return the Portugal international to Sporting CP – the first club of his senior career and where he developed before joining United for the first time in 2003.
Ronaldo’s mother explained: “It (a return to Sporting) can happen, but not right now. This was not the year for it, but next year it might be. This year or next year this will happen, God willing! I have already explained to him: ‘Son, before I die I want to see him in the Sporting shirt once again’.
“If Ronaldo doesn’t come, his son, Cristianinho, will come. That is his destiny. At his age, he is playing better than his father! Cristiano’s successor is Cristianinho. He has already said he wanted to live in Lisbon and play for Sporting, if they both went – it would be my dream.
“If the wishes of a mother and grandmother are fulfilled, then one of her children will be joining Sporting very soon.”
When pushed on Cristiano’s plans for retirement, his mother continued: “He has a strong desire to continue and to keep playing until he is 40.” That would take the striker up to the end of the 2024/25 campaign, which would signal 23 seasons at the top level of football.
Ronaldo said earlier this month at the Quinas de Ouro awards when outlining his future: “I hope to continue being part of the Portuguese international setup for a few more years. I feel motivated, my ambition is high. I am in a team with young people, I want to be in the World Cup but also in the next European Championships.”
The Portuguese superstar added: “I am proud to receive an award of such magnitude. I never thought I could achieve it. It has been a long road but I would like to say that my journey is not over yet. There is still a little more of Cristiano left.”
Ronaldo, who isn’t currently getting regular football at United, had been looking ahead at the January transfer window, but Red Devils football director John Murtough poured cold water on the idea that there will be first-team movements in or out of the club this winter, suggesting the forward won’t be going anywhere.
Ronaldo has scored 699 goals in club football and a total of 816 across his senior career and remains intent on adding to the 31 major honours he has won throughout his two decades in football.