Sporting Lisbon are preparing a January bid for Cristiano Ronaldo but Manchester United must pay part of his wages, according to reports.

Sporting boss Ruben Amorim revealed earlier this week that the club are ‘dreaming’ about re-signing the Portugal international superstar, who scored five goals across 31 games before joining United for his first stint in 2003.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, trained with the United first team for the first time on Tuesday since his refusal to come on as late substitute in the recent victory over Tottenham.

The 37-year-old, who was desperate to leave Old Trafford in the summer, was banished by Erik ten Hag for his act of defiance and was forced to sit out last week’s heavyweight Premier League clash against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Despite returning on Thursday as he scored against FC Sheriff in the Europa League, Ronaldo has been linked with a United exit when the transfer window reopens in January – with Chelsea interested – but a romantic return to Sporting, the Portuguese club where Ronaldo started his career, has also been mooted.

Amorim has admitted Sporting ‘don’t have the money to pay his wages’ and it had been thought that Ronaldo would have to take a pay cut to join his former side – but The Mirror are now reporting that the Lisbon club have offered United a ‘compromise’.

That compromise would see ‘United handing Ronaldo a pay-off on a chunk of his £500,000-a-week wages’ with Champions League side Sporting paying the rest.

‘Ronaldo is a top player,’ Sporting boss Amorim said earlier this week. ‘Everybody in Sporting dreams of the return for Cristiano but we don’t have the money to pay his wages.’

Ronaldo spent five years at Sporting between 1997 and 2002 – becoming the first player to represent their U16, U17 and U18 teams as well as the B team and the first team all within a single season – as he made his full debut in 2002-03.


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