A-League boss Danny Townsend will continue his quest to bring the world’s top footballers to Australian despite rejections from Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez.
Portuguese great Ronaldo this week confirmed he had an “opportunity” to play in the A-League before committing to an A$305 million-a-year deal with the Saudi Pro League club Al-Nassr.
“I had many opportunities in Europe, in Brazil, Australia, in the United States and even in Portugal, but I gave my word to this club, for the opportunity to develop football in this amazing country,” former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus star Ronaldo said.
“This is a great opportunity for me, not only in football but to change the mentality of the new generation in Saudi Arabia.”
Uruguayan ace Suarez, who previous clubs include Liverpool, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, was also sounded out by A-League officials.
However, the controversial attacker, who turns 36 later this month, was this week unveiled by Brazilian club Gremio as its new star recruit.
But Australian Professional Leagues chief executive officer Townsend said the search for superstars keen to play in the A-League was ongoing.
“With the transfer window about to open, a lot of players are keeping their options open,” Townsend.
“We’ll know more at the end of the month when the window is about to close.
“Ronaldo was always going to be a longshot, but we’re keen to give these players the chance to play in Australia.”
Townsend has been happy with the performances of Melbourne Victory recruit Nani, Ronaldo’s former Manchester United teammate who is the A-League’s highest profile player.
“He’s been great for our competition, and has been happy to do what we’ve asked him to do in terms of helping promote the league.
Victory coach Tony Popovic said attacking weapon Nani had settled in well and was confident he would soon score his first A-League goal.
“We’re seeing very good signs at training,” Popovic said.
“He’s like any attacking players. When their confidence grows they can go through periods where they’re confident that if they have one shot a game, it will go in.
“Other times you can have several shots and it won’t go in for them.
“The chances are being created. He could have had a couple of goals definitely (last Saturday) against Central Coast, and probably should have from his perspective, but if we can get him in those areas once more, I believe that once he gets one it will flow from there.”