Ronaldo eyes Samba switch

Manchester United must be disappointed that Cristiano Ronaldo said this week that he wants to play in Brazil when he moves on from Real Madrid.

United are constantly linked with bringing the World Player of the Year back to Old Trafford – and, despite having the budget to do so, may be hoping for something unattainable.

Ronaldo said he is interested in playing for Corinthians and Flamengo, two of the most famous clubs.

“In Brazil I have many friends, so my relationship with the country is very good,” he said. “At Real I have passed many Brazilians, with Kaka one of the people I respect most of all.”

The 29-year-old Portuguese won the Ballon d’Or for the third consecutive time last week ahead of Lionel Messi and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

If United cannot get Ronaldo, at least they can hope to tempt Sergio Aguero away from Manchester neighbors City.

The brilliant Argentine forward is on the verge of returning from knee injury, just in time for crucial games against Chelsea and Barcelona in the next month.

Aguero said his friendship with Lionel Messi will be on hold until their Champions League duel is over.

Aguero was in such sparkling form before getting injured last month that he was challenging Messi and Ronaldo for the world’s best player title.

He sees the title showdown with Chelsea next Saturday and next month’s clash with Barca as ideal opportunities to showcase his talents.

Aguero was in Abu Dhabi this week with the rest of the City squad for warm weather training ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup tie with Middlesbrough.

Then it’s the Chelsea game before hosting Barcelona on Feb. 24.

Aguero has seen the emergence of Manchester United as a threat for the Premiership title and although they are unlikely to really pressure City and Chelsea for the championship this season, he must be intrigued by their ambition to sign top class players.

The latest United are targeting is Dortmund defender Mats Hummels.

United have not bought a first-choice defender in the January transfer market for eight years when Nemanja Vidic was an unknown capture from Spartak Moscow for $10 million.

The Serbian was virtually unknown at the time but he proved a shrewd buy by Sir Alex Ferguson, becoming a legend by the time he left last summer, around the same time as another center-back stalwart, Rio Ferdinand.

Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are the most senior United defenders now but they are not as convincing as their predecessors, which is why Hummels, a World Cup winner with Germany six months ago, is wanted.

Reds boss Louis van Gaal is also interested in Dutch World Cup defender Bruno Martins Indi from Porto. Bruno Martins was a regular for the United boss in Brazil where he managed the Netherlands.

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