The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is being heavily linked with a move away from the Allianz Stadium ahead of the summer transfer window
Portugal boss Fernando Santos has offered Cristiano Ronaldo advice on his future while insisting that the Juventus superstar doesn’t have “any problem in terms of mentality”.
Ronaldo’s future at Juve was thrown into doubt following their surprise last-16 Champions League exit at the hands of Porto earlier this month.
It has been suggested that the Italian giants are now ready to listen to offers for the 36-year-old, with Santos prepared to help the striker make a decision on his next move during the current international break.
What’s been said?
“I give advice to Cristiano personally. I was his head coach when he was 18, and we have a close relationship,” the Portugal head coach said of his captain at a press conference ahead of this week’s 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
“We talk a lot, but these are private conversations between friends. We don’t really have a coach-player relationship, but it is different when he is in the national team.
“If he asks me for any advice, I will let him know what I think.”
Santos also dismissed any suggestion that Ronaldo’s struggles at Juve will affect his mindset at international level.
“When Cristiano is with the national team, he always comes with the same vision, the same passion, the same will, the same joy,” he added
“He always gives 100 per cent when he comes to the national team. I don’t think he has any problem in terms of mentality at the moment.”
Who has been linked with Ronaldo?
Real Madrid are reportedly eager to bring Ronaldo back to Santiago Bernabeu when the summer transfer window reopens, having been unable to achieve the same success in terms of silverware since selling him to Juve for €100 million (£86m/$118m) in 2018.
Zinedine Zidane has publicly welcomed the prospect of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s return, telling Sky Italia: “Are the rumours true? Yes, it could be. We know Cristiano, we know what he has done for Real Madrid. We’ll see what his future will be.”
Paris Saint-Germain have also been credited with an interest in Ronaldo, who has been tipped to link up with long-time rival Lionel Messi at Parc des Princes as the Barcelona talisman nears the end of his current contract at Barcelona.
Manchester United has been mooted as a potential landing spot for the Portuguese, too, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer having played alongside him when he became one of the world’s best players at Old Trafford between 2003 and 2009.
“I played with Cristiano and he’s been the best player in the world alongside Messi for the past 10 to 15 years now,” the United boss said of Ronaldo at the start of the month. “You’d take him in your team, for sure.”
Can Ronaldo still deliver at the highest level?
Juventus have allowed their standards to dip significantly as a collective this season while dropping out of Europe and the Serie A title race, but Ronaldo’s output in the final third remains as impressive as ever.
The former Madrid striker has hit 30 goals in 34 games across all competitions for Andrea Pirlo’s side this term, taking his overall tally for the club to 95 in 123 appearances.
Those numbers prove that Ronaldo is still one of the most deadly forwards in European football, despite the fact he is now heading towards his-late thirties, and he will likely be able to take his pick from a whole host of high-profile potential suitors should he decide to leave Juve in the summer.