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Barcelona president Joan Laporta addresses Cristiano Ronaldo speculation

Joan Laporta addresses Cristiano Ronaldo speculation
© Reuters
Barcelona president Joan Laporta confirms that he recently had dinner with Cristiano Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has confirmed that he recently had dinner with football agent Jorge Mendes but refused to reveal whether Cristiano Ronaldo's future was a topic of conversation.

Ronaldo has allegedly asked Manchester United to listen to offers for him in the current market, with the Portugal international keen to leave Old Trafford ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.

Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain are among the clubs to be credited with an interest in the 37-year-old, while there have also been suggestions that he could return to Real Madrid.

A recent report claimed that Barcelona were keeping a close eye on the situation, with the club's president Laporta recently meeting with the forward's agent Mendes.

Laporta has confirmed that he did have dinner with Mendes to discuss transfer business but was not prepared to reveal whether Ronaldo was mentioned.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta during the press conference on February 1, 2022© Reuters

"I'm not going to talk about the players we discussed at dinner," Laporta told reporters. "It's always interesting to talk to him and find out about certain players on the market."

Ronaldo was due to return to pre-season training with Man United on Monday, but he informed the club that he could not attend 'due to family reasons'.

The Portuguese was again absent on Wednesday, and it is unclear whether he will be travelling with the squad to Thailand on Friday for the first leg of their pre-season tour.

A desire to continue playing in the Champions League is believed to be the driving force behind Ronaldo's decision to attempt to force an exit, while he allegedly does not believe that Man United will be in a position to challenge for silverware during the 2022-23 campaign.

Last season's sixth-place finish in the Premier League means that it will be Europa League football for the Red Devils in the coming season rather than top-level action in the European Cup.

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo pictured on October 30, 2021© Reuters

Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford last year and enjoyed a successful 2021-22 campaign, finding the back of the net on 24 occasions in 37 appearances, in addition to registering three assists.

The Red Devils are said to be determined to keep hold of the Portuguese, who still has one year left to run on his contract at Old Trafford, and the option of an additional 12 months.

"Of course (looking forward to managing Ronaldo). Ronaldo? Goals! (what will he bring). I talk first with Ronaldo before I talk with you," said new Man United boss Erik ten Hag when questioned on the attacker in May.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo's club and international teammate Bruno Fernandes recently played down claims that the former Sporting Lisbon youngster could be on his way out this summer.

"Cristiano Ronaldo situation? I spoke to him weeks ago, so I expect to meet Cristiano on day four for the pre-season trainings - and there's nothing else", Fernandes told Record. "I don't think Man United are open to lose a top resource like Cristiano."

A busy pre-season schedule will see the Red Devils fly out to Thailand on Friday, four days before their first match against Liverpool, while they will also take on Melbourne Victory, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa, Atletico Madrid and Rayo Vallecano in friendlies this summer.

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Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo during the match on January 3, 2022
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