Cristiano Ronaldo’s hopes of sealing a move away from Manchester United in the New Year have been dealt a huge blow after Napoli director Cristiano Giuntoli said the club have no interest in the player.
Ronaldo was desperate to leave Old Trafford in the summer after their disastrous Premier League season last term but was unable to source an escape route.
He has since been handed a reduced role by Erik ten Hag and caused outrage last week when he refused to come on as a substitute during the win over Tottenham and subsequently stormed off and left the stadium before the final whistle.
Ronaldo is set to be reinstated ahead of Thursday’s Europa League showdown with Sheriff Tiraspol, but both parties are now believed to be open to the idea of Ronaldo leaving in the New Year.
Although concrete interest has been limited in recent months, Napoli had emerged as a possible destination for Ronaldo – but Giuntoli quashed talk of a January move before the Italian club’s 3-0 win over Rangers on Wednesday.
Speaking to DAZN, Giuntoli said: “Ronaldo in January? We won’t sign any player in January. We don’t need to change anything in this team. We’re doing great and we’re not planning any signing, as of today.
“I might be repetitive, but we really are not thinking about the transfer market right now. And even if I did have to talk about it, I would say we need nothing, because there are no problems in the squad that need to be repaired. Things are going so well that we would not make a single move.”
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The news represents another juge blow for Ronaldo after Sporting Lisbon manager Ruben Anorim admitted that a deal to bring the former Sporting star back to Portugal was unlikely.
Ronaldo’s long-term future at Old Trafford appeared to be in serious jeopardy after his tantrum against Tottenham last week, but Ten Hag said that the veteran would return to the fold after being left out of Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea.
And the United chief reiterated that ahead of Thursday’s Europa League game with Sheriff Tiraspol. Ronaldo has started all four of United’s previous European games and is expected to play again in the meeting with the Moldovan champions.
Ten Hag said on Wednesday: “It’s not difficult but I think we set everything and we answered all the questions. So he was out for one game and now he is back in the squad as usual.”