Manchester United’s pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo has received a major boost after Juventus chiefs performed a drastic U-turn by sacking Andrea Pirlo.
The Italian was dismissed on Friday and Massimiliano Allegri quickly ushered in as his replacement for a second stint as Bianconeri boss.
Pirlo signed a two-year deal last August and led the club to Coppa Italia glory in his first season in charge, but an underwhelming fourth-place finish in Serie A sealed his fate.
However, Pirlo received assurances over his future only a matter of weeks ago as Juve vice-chairman Pavel Nedved insisted neither he nor Ronaldo were going anywhere.
The fact the Juventus chief has already backtracked on half of his pledge suggests his resolve is not as strong as he indicates.
As such, his previous comments claiming Ronaldo is “untouchable” must be taken with a pinch of salt.
“For me, Ronaldo can’t be touched,” Nedved told DAZN in March. “He has a contract until June 30, 2022 and will stay. What happens after that remains to be seen.
Ronaldo, for his part, is serious about returning to Old Trafford 12 years on from when he left United for Real Madrid.
That’s according to Spanish outlet Diario AS , which adds United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has reassured the Portugal legend of his place in his future plans.
Ronaldo joined Juventus for £99.2million in 2018, but with just one year remaining on his contract the Old Lady are believed to be listening to offers in the region of £21.5million.
Of course, signing the 36-year-old would mean paying his eye-watering wages – he takes home £540,000 per week at Juventus.
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But Ronaldo is reportedly willing to take a pay cut in order to seal a sensational move back to the Red Devils.
Earlier this week, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner posted a lengthy message saying he has “reached his goal” with Juventus.
“The life and career of any top player are made of ups and downs,” Ronaldo wrote on Instagram.
“Year after year, we face fantastic teams, with extraordinary players and ambitious goals, so we always have to give our best to keep ourselves at excellence levels.
“This year we couldn’t win Serie A, congratulations to Inter for the well deserved title. However, I have to value everything that we achieved this season at Juventus, both in collective and individual terms.
“The Italian Super Cup, the Italian Cup and the Serie A Top Scorer trophy fill me with happiness, mainly due to the difficulty they carry with them, in a country where nothing is easy to win.
“With these achievements, I reached a goal that I had set myself since the first day I arrived in Italy: to win the Championship, the Cup and the Super Cup, and also to be Best Player and Top Scorer in this great football country filled with tremendous players, giant clubs and a very own football culture.”