Sporting Lisbon want Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo to return
Sporting Lisbon president Bruno de Carvalho wants Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo to end his playing career with the Portuguese club.
Ronaldo, 31, began his career at Sporting and will face the club when Madrid launch their Champions League title defence on Wednesday at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
Asked if bringing Ronaldo back to the club was an aim, De Carvalho told Marca: “Yes, without a doubt, I would love for Ronaldo to end his career here, at home.
“He represents a lot for us and it would be beautiful if he could end his career here. He is a world ambassador. He always speaks well about us and how fond he is of us.”
However, Ronaldo, who is Madrid’s all-time top scorer, has said on several occasions that he wants to end his career at the Bernabeu.
The Portugal captain is expected to sign a contract extension with Real before the end of the year, with his current deal expiring in June 2018.
De Carvalho is nevertheless hoping to lure Ronaldo back to the Jose Alvalade stadium.
“We are making a great effort for certain players to return to the club,” he said. “We already did that with Nani [who spent the 2014-15 campaign on loan at Sporting] and we will see that many times.
“He will play a great game against us and we will of course have to try to limit him.”
Ronaldo, who was last month named UEFA’s Best Player in Europe for the second time after winning the Champions League and Euro 2016, spent six years at Sporting Lisbon before signing for Manchester United at the age of 18 in 2003.
“It’s going to be special to come up against him just as it’s going to be special for him, as was seen in Ronaldo’s face when he found out in the draw that he would face us,” De Carvalho said.
“We are playing against our boy and he is playing against the team where he formed himself as a player. It’s going to be beautiful.”
De Carvalho says it was a mistake for Sporting to sell Ronaldo when they did and recalls the time of Ronaldo’s breakthrough in August 2003.
He impressed when Sporting beat Manchester United 3-1 at the inauguration of the Jose Alvalade stadium and was signed by the Sir Alex Ferguson’s side shortly afterwards.
“I was watching the game against United here and we all had a very clear feeling that following his performance against United that it would be very difficult for them [United] not to sign him,” he said.
“He had phenomenal talent. As a fan, I hoped that Sporting would find a way to keep him and now as a president, I believe it was a bad business deal, from a sporting and financial aspects, to sell him as early as we did.
“I thought he was too young to leave.”