Cristiano Ronaldo has worked hard to establish a reputation as an all-time great and would never “tarnish that history” by making a controversial move to Manchester City or Barcelona, claims former Manchester United team-mate Fabio.
A switch to Etihad Stadium for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was mooted over the summer once it became clear he would leave Juventus.
Fabio believes that speculation was sparked by agent Jorge Mendes, and there was no way the Man Utd and Real Madrid icon was going to consider a transfer that would damage his reputation.
What has been said?
Former United defender Fabio, who played alongside Ronaldo at Old Trafford between 2007 and 2009, told ESPN: "I couldn’t imagine it. When they told me, I couldn’t believe it.
"It was Pedro, who plays here [FC Nantes] with me, who said: 'Manchester City are almost done with Cristiano'. I said: 'It’s not possible'. I didn’t believe it at any point.
"I don’t know if it was a move made by Jorge Mendes, his manager, to create something because that’s what happens nowadays. I’m just saying that because I don’t have any idea.
"I didn’t believe at any point that he was going to City. From his history at United, from what I know a bit from the two years I played with him. It would have been difficult for him to have the courage to play for City because he preserves that history so much. Equally, I’m sure he wouldn’t play at Barcelona.
"He greatly values the history he has made wherever he has been. Cristiano Ronaldo played at the clubs he wanted that he had the dream of. Manchester, Real Madrid and Juventus. That’s why I don’t think he would tarnish that history."
Does Ronaldo have another move in him?Getty
As the City rumours blew over, Ronaldo completed an emotional return to United in August. He has committed to an initial two-year contract with the Red Devils, with that deal set to take him beyond his 38th birthday.
There has been no sign of him slowing down, with five goals scored since heading back to English football, and Ronaldo has stated on a regular basis that he intends to play on into his 40s.
The expectation is that the final chapters in his remarkable career will be written outside Europe, potentially in MLS or Asia, but there is also a chance that Ronaldo will look to go full circle by retiring on the books at Sporting.