City were heavily linked with the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus towards the end of the summer transfer window. However, the Portuguese icon instead returned to former club Manchester United.
Pep Guardiola’s side had previously pursued Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane, and once it became clear that the England captain was unattainable, the club proceeded to review alternative options.
One option considered was the then-Juventus star Ronaldo, who was understood to be desperate to leave Turin, and according to fresh reports, Manchester City were Ronaldo's "destination of choice."
According to renowned football journalist Guillem Balague, Ronaldo’s ideal destination was Manchester City, and in a series of tweets, Balague has presented an insight into the transfer saga and revealed why the striker didn't join Guardiola’s side.
The Twitter thread began with Balague noting, “Cristiano Ronaldo and Jorge Mendes were negotiating with City. It was their destination of choice and Pep could see the Portuguese striker scoring more than 40 goals a season”.
“Juventus opened the doors for him. They had spent two seasons looking for a buyer for him even though they later denied it through friendly newspapers in Italy."
Balague continued, "But before City could sign him they had to address an overabundance of attacking players they had at the club [Foden, Gabriel Jesus, Ferran, Bernardo Silva, Mahrez and Grealish]”.
“Barcelona, with Laporta at the helm, tried to get Sterling, Jesus or Bernardo Silva although they quickly gave up [no money!]."
"City began to make some calls to sell a forward knowing they were running out of time and there were few options to find buyers for players like Silva, Jesus or Mahrez”.
Interestingly, Balague states that “Mendes and Ronaldo wanted to go to City more than anywhere else, but they had to prepare a plan B, United had not considered signing Ronaldo but when they knew he was available they felt that he could only - should only - move to United”.
Owing to their desperation to prevent a club icon from joining their fierce rivals, “United offered a better salary than City (less than he was earning at Juve) and they were delighted with €15 + 8 million that Juventus were asking for."
"Cristiano didn’t have a return to Old Trafford clear in his own mind but wanted to leave Juventus above anything else."
The journalist rounded off his thread by noting, “When it became clear City were not able to sell at least one of their players Mendes told City that they would be accepting United's offer. The rest is history”.
The information reveals that had Ronaldo have gotten his way, then he would be lining up for Pep Guardiola’s side this weekend, and not spearheading Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s attack.
Guillem Balague’s comments have effectively confirmed what was already generally known - that Cristiano Ronaldo was keen to join Manchester City.
However, owing to the Sky Blues being unable to shift any of their attackers on short notice, the club were reluctant to sanction a move, and resultantly, Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford.
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