Cristiano Ronaldo is yet to kick a ball at the 2022 Qatar World Cup but he has already become one of the biggest stories of the tournament’s opening days. Manchester United have announced that the Portuguese star is leaving the club by mutual agreement with immediate effect.
Milan have long been linked with Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech, but according to information from Sport Mediaset, the Premier League side are not prepared to let the Moroccan move on loan in January unless they get Cristiano Ronaldo through the door.
What do AC Milan need in the January window?
It has become very clear in the 2022/23 Serie A season that Milan coach Stefano Pioli would like some more firepower in the attacking midfield area.
Charles De Ketelaere has not had the desired effect so far since joining from Club Brugge, and the constant rotation of Junior Messias and Alexis Saelemaekers when both fit shows he is not settled on either of them.
Hakim Ziyech was heavily linked in the summer but it seemed that wages were the major stumbling block. That could still be a barrier, but there is genuine interest from the Rossoneri to bring him to the club on loan with an option to make the deal permanent in the summer.
How is Ronaldo linked to AC Milan’s fate?
Before it was announced that Cristiano Ronaldo will be leaving Manchester United with immediate effect, according to Quotidiano Sportivo, super agent Jorge Mendes began floating the idea of an elaborate deal where Rafael Leao would be sold to United and part of the deal would see Ronaldo arrive in Milan on a six-month loan.
That can’t happen now given Ronaldo is unattached, but that does mean that it would be a lot easier for Chelsea to do what Thomas Tuchel wouldn’t let them do in the summer, and bring Ronaldo to the club. It is something that the new owner, Todd Boehly, is very keen to see happen.
If Chelsea can agree on terms with Ronaldo before anyone else does, it could make Milan’s pursuit of Ziyech much easier when January comes around and the Diavolo may get the spark on the right wing that they need when play resumes after the World Cup.