How the Champions League could tempt Ronaldo back to Manchester United

Cristiano Ronaldo is closing in on becoming the record international goalscorer of all time. He now has 103 goals for Portugal, six behind Ali Daei’s 109 for Iran.

Even at 36, Ronaldo is a force to be reckoned with, shown by his tally of 30 goals in all competitions for Juventus this year.

Where Ronaldo plays next season is not clear cut. Ronaldo cannot afford to waste a year late in his career, and a return to Manchester United is possible.

Juventus crashed out of the Champions League last month and next season, their place in the competition is far from assured.

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Precarious position

Juventus are in a rare position entering April, having pretty much lost the title already. Ronaldo’s individual brilliance aside, this has been a woeful campaign for the club under Andrea Pirlo’s management.

Now Juventus sit third, behind both Milan clubs, and instead of looking upwards, they face a fight to secure a Champions League place.

The top four spots gain entry to the Champions League, and Juventus could miss out.

Juventus are on 55 points from 27 games, in third, while Napoli in fifth are just two points back.

Juventus, Napoli, Atalanta, and Roma in third to sixth are separated by just five points, with 11 games remaining.

Being in this position late in the season is alien for a club which has won the last nine consecutive Serie A titles.

Result could push Ronaldo to United

Failure to finish in the top four would be disastrous for Juventus and surely end Ronaldo’s spell at the club. He’s too good to waste a year in the Europa League, especially at this stage of his career.

This could in turn push Ronaldo to Manchester United, one of the very few clubs who could afford his wages, and attract him.

Ronaldo is essentially at this stage of his career a souped-up Edinson Cavani, and that’s no bad thing. He has a superior fitness record, and subsequently, a better goal record.

United’s aim should be to sign a young striker, but the dream of landing Erling Haaland is going to be really tough to achieve given the finances involved.

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Ronaldo would still be a strong stop-gap at this stage of his career. He has 23 league goals for Juventus this season, while United’s four forwards have just 20 league goals combined.

What happens to Juventus in the final stages of the season could put him on the market.

United look odds-on to qualify for the Champions League, currently second in the Premier League. A return to Old Trafford could hold some appeal if Ronaldo is looking for a new home this summer, and is determined to play in the Champions League again.

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