Manchester United Transfer Rumours: Latest on Pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo

Justin Onslow@@JustinOnslowNFLContributor IIJune 13, 2013

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - JUNE 10:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal celebrates his goal of Portugal during the international friendly match between Portugal and Croatia on June 10, 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland.  (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)
Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

With two years remaining on Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract, Real Madrid is in no hurry to give into his exorbitant contract demands.

According to Mark Irwin of The Sun, Ronaldo wants £32 million per season to remain with the team going forward, £17 million of which would come from annual salary. According to the report, the superstar striker also wants 100 percent of his image rights, calculated to be as much as £15 million per year:

The Spanish giants are adamant that Ronaldo will not be leaving them this summer and are now trying to agree a deal to keep their Portuguese idol for the rest of his career.

But Ronaldo, 28, is determined to cash in on his iconic status and is looking for a mega deal to make him the highest-paid footballer in history.

Irwin believes Ronaldo’s pursuit of a massive new deal is motivated by his desire to usurp Barcelona’s Lionel Messi as the biggest star in the world, but Real feel they have time to haggle over the terms of a new contract.

With rumors swirling, Ronaldo did his part to feed the flames by announcing on Twitter that he had not reached a new deal with Real Madrid:

Given the fact that Ronaldo felt the need to silence those reports, it comes as no surprise Manchester United is at the forefront of a pursuit to reclaim the superstar this summer.

According to Neil Custis of The Sun, United are convinced Real Madrid could lose out on retaining Ronaldo if the Spanish side is successful in obtaining Tottenham Hotspur superstar Gareth Bale:

United are convinced a successful £85million Real Madrid swoop for the Spurs hero will open the door for Ronaldo to return.

Real president Florentino Perez claims Ron will pen a new deal but the Portuguese superstar has yet to make his mind up on his future.

Perez has already hinted Real are ready to make a world record bid for Bale.

Even the richest club in the world would surely struggle to pay for both a Bale addition and an increasingly large salary for Ronaldo. The possibility is there, but if reports are true, adding Bale could be the kiss of death in the endeavor to retain Ronaldo.

Custis also notes that United is willing to offer Real as much as £65 million and “a player like Nani or Javier Hernandez” as compensation, but the real question is how much per season the English side is willing to give Ronaldo.

While United certainly isn’t hurting for cash, even Messi (£14 million) makes less than the £17 million Ronaldo is reportedly demanding—presumably the reason the Real Madrid man may be in search of that particular number.

While Real won’t want to lose out on one of the top two players in the world, the prospect of adding Bale, cash to cover most of his transfer fee and another quality player has to be somewhere in their collective mind. As unlikely as that scenario may be, Ronaldo hasn’t exactly given an indication that he is set on staying in Spain.

If Manchester United hopes to swing a deal that would nearly guarantee their top spot in the Premier League, they should spare no expense. Excessive though his demands may be, they are a small price to pay for a superstar like Ronaldo who can all but guarantee long-term success as the league’s top club.