August 27, 2021
MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Cristiano Ronaldo will decide who he plays for next and anything can happen in the next few days, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said on Friday when asked about media reports the Portugal international was set to move to The Etihad.
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said earlier that the 36-year-old forward, in the final year of his contract, had no intention of staying at the Turin club.
Sky Sports showed Ronaldo boarding a private jet and said he was heading for Lisbon, with World Cup qualifiers coming up.
Media reports have indicated City, who had wanted to sign Tottenham Hotspur’s England striker Harry Kane, were willing to offer a two-year contract for a player who knows Manchester well after playing for rivals United from 2003-09.
City are the Premier League champions and will take on Ronaldo’s old rival Lionel Messi, now at Paris St Germain after leaving Barcelona, in the Champions League group stage.
“I cannot say much,” said Guardiola when asked about Ronaldo at a news conference to preview Saturday’s home match against Arsenal. “Only I can say that in this three or four days left until the transfer window shuts, everything can happen.
“In my personal view there are few players that, and I think Cristiano Ronaldo is included and Messi of course, decide where they are going to play.
“They have the absolute leading role in negotiations and everything,” he added.
“Cristiano will decide where he wants to play, not Manchester City and not myself. There are many things that right now looks like far, far away.”
Guardiola has said before that he would be happy to go forward with the squad he has but City are known also to be in the market for a forward.
“They knock the door, they call,” he said, of how Messi and Ronaldo decide their futures. “After that I cannot control. It’s none of my business. I am focused on what we have to do and the players I have.”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing By Ken Ferris)