José Mourinho believes any aspirations retained by Manchester United to lure Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford this summer will be dashed and he envisages his compatriot will remain at Real Madrid for the foreseeable future.
Ronaldo, who left United for £80m in 2009 and has scored 146 goals in 135 La Liga games, has two years to run on his contract at the Bernabéu and, with no agreement struck as yet over extending his stay in Spain, had prompted raised eyebrows in England by publicly stating he was missing the Premier League .
That had been considered as encouragement to United to test Real's resolve to retain him but his manager of three years in Spain does not envisage the departure of the winger, who scored twice in Real's 6-0 victory pre-season friendly win at Bournemouth on Sunday.
"What I know is that Real Madrid is such a rich club they don't need to sell him, and it is such a rich club I think they can swallow any offer a club can have on Ronaldo," Mourinho said. "I know Ronaldo loves Manchester United and I know he loves the Premier League but I think he is going to stay. It's just a feeling, no contact [with the player], nothing, just a feeling."
United are not alone in coveting the 28-year-old, with money-flushed Paris Saint-Germain having stated an interest in Ronaldo. Yet the recently appointed Real manager Carlo Ancelotti clearly also anticipates the player signing a new deal.
"Everyone knows that he is a superstar and a great player," said Ancelotti in Madrid before the team's departure for Bournemouth. "The most important thing for the club is that a player of his quality shows the utmost professionalism. That is good, especially for the young players who can see a world-class player working with that attitude. I am not responsible for the renewal of his contract but it won't be a problem."