On Wednesday morning, Eric Krakauer of Prost Amerika dropped this bombshell.
Source told me #CristianoRonaldo & #MUFC have agreed to terms & that a transfer could happen by Friday. Hard to believe. Source rarely off.— Eric Krakauer (@bigsoccerheadNY) July 22, 2015
This was mostly ignored -- not because of any lack of credibility on Krakauer's part, but quite the opposite. In follow-up tweets, he said that while his source has given him great information in the past, he was skeptical about this particular transfer. But slowly, over the next day, that rumor got some more legs.
Later in the day, during training, Ronaldo got visibly upset with coach Rafa Benitez. He didn't like a training game, saying "we shouldn't be practicing this s---", and said Rafa only saw fouls from the Portuguese-speaking players. Now, the Manchester Evening News is reporting that Manchester United are actively trying to sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid.
Why it makes sense
Manchester United basically have unlimited money, especially if they sell Angel Di Maria to Paris Saint-Germain. Even if they don't have money in their FFP budget right now, that's not a concern. They'll get new sponsorship revenue when they sign Ronaldo and sell millions, if not tens of millions of shirts. They're the most popular team in China and India, and Ronaldo is one of the most popular players in the world. Money is no issue here. They're one of the few teams that could sign Ronaldo or Lionel Messi at any time, without having to do some serious accounting gymnastics.
United are light at forward after offloading Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao, and though Ronaldo has mostly played on the left wing at Real Madrid, he'll need to move up top soon to preserve his legs. He'd be great playing ahead of Wayne Rooney in a one-striker formation or next to him in a two-striker one. And tactics aside, United are a big-name, big-money team lacking a true world class superstar. They should be trying to sign Ronaldo even if they don't need a player who plays his position.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is also reportedly more enamored with Gareth Bale than Ronaldo, and Karim Benzema is one of his favorite players as well. If the BBC isn't working well together, either in terms of personality or tactically, it makes sense that Ronaldo is the one that Perez would be willing to sell -- even if selling a top two player in the world is a really bad idea.
And on top of that, Ronaldo's image rights were recently sold to Valencia owner Peter Lim. It's really strange that Madrid wouldn't want to control them.
Why it doesn't make sense
For all the rumors about Perez not liking Ronaldo as much as his other stars, Ronaldo's spat with Benitez, his age, the image rights sale and his lack of chemistry with bale, he's still Cristiano Ronaldo. It's so hard to see Madrid selling him unless he's throwing a fit and demanding to leave the club, and even if he does that, a team like Madrid shouldn't be giving up the second-best player on the planet without a fight.
Madrid almost never sells top players before their form has fallen off. They don't have to.
Likelihood it happens
So ... this makes more sense than most of these wild rumors. The one point in the "it doesn't make sense" column is huge, but not overwhelming. Crazier things than this have happened. We'll give it a 5/10 chance of happening.
This is a post from our transfer rumors section. For news, analysis and more, check out the main SB Nation Soccer page.