Ron-dez-vous: Could car company Chevrolet hold the keys to Manchester United bankrolling a move to RE-SIGN Cristiano Ronaldo?
Chevrolet's deal with United, which is reportedly worth around $65, is the largest sponsorship deal for any club in the world and would be significantly more valuable for the automotive giant with the involvement of the superstar striker.
The Portugal captain's basic annual earnings of around $37 million caused some workers at Fiat, which is part-owned by the billionaire Agnelli family behind Juventus, to go on strike when he moved to Italy.
Although that is the largest salary of any player in Serie A, his arrival in 2018 preceded record figures for the Agnellis' FCA group, including a rise of more than 12% in sales of Jeep, the brand on the front of Juve's shirts.Also on rt.com Ronaldo honored for incredible goals haul - but first league goal by an American for Juventus fends off humiliating defeat (VIDEO)
Ronaldo is used as a poster boy for Jeep commercials, acting as an instantly recognizable figurehead for the Wrangler and their efforts to expand further into lucrative new markets including Asia, China, Japan, India and South Korea.
The US is the leading market for Chevrolet, but sales in regions such as China and Brazil are on the rise, making Auto esporte's claim that the brand is keen to fund a move for Ronaldo unsurprising.
Jeep has more than twice as many followers as Chevrolet on Instagram, helped by Ronaldo's endorsement on his account, which is more than six times bigger than United's with a huge audience of more than 244 million.
The impact Ronaldo would be likely to have on those numbers is demonstrated by the fact that Juventus's total has rocketed from 10.5 million to almost 40 million since they signed him.
United were rumored to have offered Ronaldo a huge deal to rejoin the club in October, partly in a bid to put themselves back in contention for their first Premier League title since 2013.Also on rt.com 750 not out! Cristiano Ronaldo closes in on ALL-TIME goalscoring record with Champions League strike against Dynamo Kiev
They would have to break their current wage bill by more than $5 million to sign Ronaldo on the same terms as his current deal, eclipsing current top earner David de Gea's salary of around $25 million.
Neighbors Manchester City are thought to be the frontrunners to sign Ronaldo's main rival, Lionel Messi, should Barcelona's all-time top scorer leave the club at the end of this season.
That would almost certainly leave United trailing even further in their wake without the addition of a player of the quality of Ronaldo, who helped United to win three titles and the Champions League before ending his six-year stay in 2009.
"Without a doubt, Cristiano Ronaldo...helped the brand to further increase its recognition, reaching people less connected to the automotive world," a spokesperson for the FCA told Auto esporte.
"However, it is important to consider that only ten years ago the Jeep sold about 300,000 vehicles a year. Today we are a global brand that sells five times that number."Also on rt.com ‘I wanted to p*ss him off’: Russian badboy claims Cristiano Ronaldo was RAGING after being ELBOWED in Champions League row