Pep Guardiola does not believe Manchester City would have signed Cristiano Ronaldo had he not opted to re-join Manchester United as the Premier League-winning manager dismissed talk about the superstar forward.
United announced on Friday they had agreed a deal with Juventus, reportedly worth an initial £12.8million (€15m), to bring Ronaldo back to Old Trafford subject to personal terms, a visa and a medical.
Ronaldo had been tipped to complete a sensational switch to neighbours City before agreeing to return to the Theatre of Dreams for a second spell, having enjoyed a hugely successful first stint with the Red Devils between 2003 and 2009.
Asked if City – who have been linked with Tottenham's Harry Kane and Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland following Sergio Aguero's exit – would have signed Ronaldo had United not entered the race, Guardiola told reporters: "Umm, I don't think so."
Ronaldo joined Juve from LaLiga giants Real Madrid in 2018 and he remained an ultra-reliable frontman for the Italian powerhouse, scoring 81 goals in 98 Serie A games.
The 36-year-old scored 29 league goals last season and 36 across all competitions. In 2020-21, only four players across Europe's top five leagues scored more goals than his 36-goal haul.
Ronaldo is also contributing far less in other areas of the pitch than during his prime years. He won just six tackles last season, and only three in the league. Only five strikers with five goals or more in Serie A last season won fewer. In his 60-goal third season at Madrid, Ronaldo won 33 tackles.
The Portugal captain made 73 crosses in open play across all competitions, and 64 came in the league, the fifth-highest total of any five-goal-plus Serie A striker, but that number is far from what the former Sporting CP was producing at his career's peak. In his final season at United (2008-09) he put in 197 open-play crosses, and he topped 100 in each of his first three seasons at Madrid (2009-10 to 2011-12).
He continues to produce excellent figures, but he no longer vastly exceeds his expected goals (xG) totals and has instead almost exactly matched them in each season while at Juventus (2018-19: 28 goals from 28.3 xG; 2019-20: 37 goals from 35.84 xG; 2020-21: 36 goals from 35.34 xG).