Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho dismissed speculation linking his club with a move to bring Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo back to club, claiming the transfer would be ‘mission impossible’.
The potential of four-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo leaving Madrid had emerged after reports in June claimed that Ronaldo was being pursued for £12.9m in unpaid taxes and was determined to leave Spain as a result, fueling speculation he might re-join his former club this summer.
But, during ‘The Red Devils’ pre-season tour of America, Mourinho poured cold water on the rumours, inisting he would be looking at more realistic targets in an attempt to further bolster his squad ahead of the new season.
“I’m not going to waste my time thinking about players who are mission impossible”, said Mourinho.
“We have never thought about it [signing Ronaldo] because he is too important a player for his club, of great economic power.
“We have not been able to find anything that could have made us think Ronaldo could leave”, he added.
Ronaldo left Manchester United to join Real Madrid in a world-record transfer in 2009 and has gone on to win 11 trophies as well as three Ballon d’Or awards. Given his value to ‘Los Blancos’ both on and off the field, Ronaldo would still command a huge transfer fee, despite being 32.
And United were also frustrated in their attempts to secure the services of another Real Madrid player, with the club seeing their bid for striker Alvaro Morata rejected by the Spanish side.
“He is a player who made it to the first team [at Real Madrid] with me”, said Mourinho.
“We have a special liking for him but I don’t think he can end with us.”
Morata now looks set to join United’s English Premier League rivals Chelsea who this week agreed terms with Madrid for the transfer. United instead turned their attention to Romelu Lukaku, with the Belgian moving to Manchester in a club-record deal from Everton, a situation Mourinho insisted he was happy with.
“I think it was obvious Chelsea would sign a striker”, the former Real Madrid manager commented.
“They did it with Alvaro and Alvaro is a very good player for them.
“But we got a big player [Lukaku]. His development was very, very good. We think we have a player that is now a top player in Europe. He has amazing qualities”, Mourinho added.
“Lukaku is a target man, he plays with his back to opponents”, Mourinho said after watching his record-signing make his debut as a second-half substitute as United began their pre-season preparations with a 5-2 win over LA Galaxy.
“He is a team player, he’s not selfish. He’s not obsessed with goals.
“He was not worried about himself, he was worried about the improvement of the team.”
Lukaku joined fellow new signing Victor Lindelof in making his United bow at the Stub-Hub Center.
Mourinho is thought to want to add four new faces to his squad this summer but United fans’ dreams that one of them be Cristiano Ronaldo appear to have squashed by their manager.
–Alistair Sargent, Correspondent (Sport)