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Cristiano Ronaldo requests transfer from Manchester United: Chelsea, Bayern, Napoli, and other clubs he could join

Cristiano Ronaldo has requested that Manchester United transfer him should a suitable offer come through, according to a report by The Times in England. His agent has been talking to teams and he could be seeking a move to a UEFA Champions League club.

Cristiano Ronaldo's days at Manchester United seem numbered. After several weeks that saw his name surface in connection with potential transfers to Chelsea, Bayern Munich and AS Roma, a report indicates that the player has requested out.

According to The Times in England, Ronaldo has asked to be transferred this summer should a suitable offer emerge. The report indicates that at the heart of the move is a desire to seek Champions League football during the years remaining in his career. The last time he didn't play in the UEFA Champions League was the 2002/03 season, featuring in 19 consecutive tournaments.

The 37-year-old was acquired by Manchester United in the summer of 2021 in a €15 million ($17.8m / £12.9m) transfer from Juventus, plus €8 million ($10 million) in add-ons. It's unclear what it might take to lure him away from United, with the club making it clear in June that it had no intention of letting him go.

Man United are starting over with a new manager in 2022/23 as Dutchman Erik ten Hag takes over the reins after a successful spell at Ajax. He has said from the very start that Ronaldo is in his plans with the Portuguese star coming off a 2021/22 season during which he led the Red Devils in goals.

Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave Manchester United for Champions League club. https://t.co/5EMtQKX8sZ

— Duncan Castles (@DuncanCastles) July 2, 2022

What's Manchester United's reaction to this development? Transfer guru Fabrizio Romano relays that for Man United it's a case of message received. But they clearly won't be giving him up for nothing.

Cristiano Ronaldo told Man United he wants to leave this summer as he wants to see more ambition. Man Utd are still hopeful of keeping CR7, but aware of decision. ???????????? #Ronaldo

Cristiano has no agreement with any other club. Mendes explored options for weeks and will continue. pic.twitter.com/VRji13zrz0

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 2, 2022

The last thing any new coach in Ten Hag's position would want to do is to keep a player against his will after he has essentially asked out via the media. But it also wouldn't be the worst scenario for Ten Hag to start his tenure with a slightly fresher slate.

Ronaldo's next club?

The Times article comes on the heels of reports that Ronaldo's agent, Jorge Mendes, met with Chelsea's new owner Todd Boehly, when the topic of a potential move was discussed. 

Chelsea, which won the Champions League in 2021, finished third in the Premier League in 2021/22 and clinched a UEFA Champions League berth in the process. The Blues struggled in the scoring department and could use a dependable goal-scoring center forward after sending Romelu Lukaku on loan to Inter Milan.

???? EXCL: Todd Boehly met Jorge Mendes in Portugal last week. Idea of Cristiano Ronaldo to Chelsea among subjects discussed. Unclear if #CFC will pursue. Man Utd expect him to stay. 37yo loves #MUFC but has concerns. With @dansheldonsport for @TheAthleticUK https://t.co/pHXelZAIIb

— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) June 25, 2022

The newest team to be connected to Ronaldo is SSC Napoli, which finished third in the Serie A last season and will feature once again in the Champions League. The Athletic characterizes "Napoli among suitors" in the race to sign Ronaldo. If the Partenopei decide to cash in on the talented and sought-after Victor Osimhen, that would open up a sizable hole at forward. 

Napoli have been chasing a third Italian league scudetto since their last title in 1989/90 with Diego Maradona as its star. Ronaldo would become a legend in the city if he were able to help the club get over the hump.

???? Cristiano Ronaldo has told Man Utd he wants to leave this summer, as @DuncanCastles reports. 37yo said to love club but wants to play CL + fight for top honours in final stage of career - doesn’t feel likely at #MUFC. Napoli among suitors @TheAthleticUK https://t.co/rFxa8i1pRO

— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) July 2, 2022

If he's seeking Champions League football, there are a few other potential options, including German champions Bayern Munich, which has been mooted. According to Spanish daily Sport, the club is his first option.

Ronaldo has never played in the German Bundesliga and he could line up as a potential replacement for center forward Robert Lewandowski, who seems set on leaving for Barcelona. Ronaldo has often touted his ability to conquer multiple leagues and he might want to have Bundesliga top scorer on his resume.

Given that the Lewandowski saga seems far from over, with Bayern and Barcelona reportedly still far apart in transfer talks, the statement from Bayern Munich's sporting director denying any Ronaldo interest could be strategic.

Bayern Munich's sporting director insists Cristiano Ronaldo is NOT a transfer target ❌ pic.twitter.com/blHn7a39eL

— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) June 25, 2022

Outside of Napoli, the other Italian clubs mentioned don't seem realistic. AS Roma, with Ronaldo's compatriots at manager (Jose Mourinho) and sporting director (Tiago Pinto), is one that will be playing in the same European competition in 2022/23 as Manchester United — the Europa League. A move back to Juventus, which will be playing in the Champions League, seems farfetched given public statements that painted Ronaldo in a negative light during his time there.

And another one of his former clubs, Real Madrid, seems to be operating just fine without him after center forward and Ronaldo successor Karim Benzema led the way to a Champions League title in 2021/22.

A final potential Champions League destination that could make for a strong narrative is his former club, Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon.

A move back to the organization where he got his start as he gets set to turn 38 in February would make for a storybook ending to Ronaldo's European career, with many expecting an eventual move to the USA and Major League Soccer.

Why is Ronaldo leaving Manchester United? 

Ronaldo finished third in the Premier League scoring race, but showed frustrations as the challenges mounted for a United side that registered its lowest points total in the Premier League era.

Despite his scoring exploits, plenty of criticism was directed at Ronaldo and his perceived inability to pressure opponents from the front line as he once did. The suggestion that he could leave in the summer is not entirely outrageous against this backdrop.

The criticism shows no sign of letting up even in light of a transfer request:

#Ronaldo did exactly what I thought he would do, score goals but make the team worse. The transfer request also kills the idea he turned down Man City because of his love for Man United ???? https://t.co/X7Xw9uRnm4

— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) July 2, 2022

According to a July 2 report by Sky Sports' Lyall Thomas, Ronaldo is also concerned about a "lack of signings and perceived inability to compete for major trophies," as he seeks to end his career on a high.

As per @thetimes scoop and elsewhere, Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave #ManchesterUnited this summer amid concerns over lack of signings and perceived inability to compete for major trophies in twilight of his career. More on @SkySportsNews: #MUFC https://t.co/9gSkR3T8i8 pic.twitter.com/MVEvJcmf2A

— Lyall Thomas (@SkySportsLyall) July 2, 2022
Ronaldo contract, salary and net worth

Ronaldo signed a two-year deal with Manchester United with an option for a third year. Any club transferring for him and taking on the contract would inherit the length and terms unless new terms are agreed.

Reports in 2021/22 indicated that Ronaldo's salary at Manchester United in the first year of his two-year deal was approximately £480,000 ($592,000) per week, making him the club's highest paid player. However, it later emerged later that his weekly pay was closer to £385,000 ($475,000).

The player has a number of commercial interests which boost his earning power. According to Forbes, Ronaldo's net worth was $120 million (£97 million) in 2021.

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