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'A big personality': Two European giants explain why they didn't sign Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag gives instructions to Cristiano Ronaldo during the Premier League game against Southampton.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Bayern Munich director Hasan Salihamidzic has revealed that he spoke to Cristiano Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes about a potential summer transfer, but Napoli insist that they were never in the running for the Manchester United star. 

Uncertainty over Ronaldo’s future was one of the major plots of the summer transfer window, but he was still a United player by the end of deadline day on Thursday.

All sorts of clubs have been linked with Ronaldo since he made it clear that he wanted to compete in the Champions League this season, from Chelsea to Sporting CP, Napoli to Bayern.

But the latter two clubs have now clarified how close they really came to a deal for the 37-year-old. 

Cristiano Ronaldo in action during Manchester United's Premier League loss to Brighton on the opening day.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Salihamidzic confirmed to Sky Germany (opens in new tab) that he spoke to Mendes – ‘I often talk to Jorge’ – but not Ronaldo himself, and explained the German champions’ stance.  

"He's an incredibly big personality. A big player who has made his mark on the world of football in recent years. It wasn't an option for us because we were doing other things,” Salihamdzic said.

“But you don't have to feel sorry for him. He's a great footballer who has achieved great things in recent years."

A big late-window rumour said that Mendes was working on a deal that would have seen Napoli striker Victor Osimhen move to Old Trafford for a nine-figure sum and Ronaldo head in the opposite direction.

But at the close of play, both strikers are still at their clubs and Partenopei director Cristiano Giuntoli downplayed suggestions that a deal had been close.

“Ronaldo is an extraordinary player, but there really was nothing in it,” Giuntoli told DAZN (opens in new tab).

“We have a great relationship with Mendes, but there was nothing concrete.”

Ronaldo will remain at United to play under Erik ten Hag this season, and came off the bench in Thursday’s 1-0 win over Leicester.

Erik ten Hag

Manchester United signed Jadon Sancho a year after a transfer saga (Image credit: Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images)

The 37-year-old started the first two games of the season, but they ended in embarrassing defeats to Brighton and Brentford.

He has since had to settle for a place on the bench, making substitute appearances during the Red Devils’ three consecutive victories over Liverpool, Southampton and Leicester.

But Ronaldo, who was United’s top scorer last season with 24 goals in all competitions, is yet to get off the mark in 2022/23.

More Manchester United stories

Antony has arrived to tip Manchester United’s summer spending beyond £200m. Despite this, United may still be active in the window late on: Memphis Depay has been linked with a shock return, with more deals planned

Attacking target Christian Pulisic is set to remain at Stamford Bridge, though Victor Osimhen may be on the radar. Atletico Madrid star Yannick Carrasco has been touted, while both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Jamie Vardy were at point linked. United were also interested in Bayer Leverkusen-bound Callum Hudson-Odoi and Atletico apparently offered a swap deal to bring Ronaldo to Madrid. 

Erik ten Hag has admitted uncertainty over Cristiano Ronaldo’s future, while hailing Bruno Fernandes amidst Scott McTominay’s handball controversy. Elsewhere, pundits have been torn over the new Red Devils signings with Graeme Souness suggesting Lisandro Martinez will be “found out” and Rio Ferdinand scoffing at Souness’s comments about Casemiro.

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