CRISTIANO RONALDO plans to work on expanding his hotel empire when he returns to the UK, SunSport can reveal.
The 36-year-old is opening his first Manchester hotel in 18-months and sources say he is keen to 'quickly widen' his portfolio of properties.
A pal said he has been 'impressed' by the success achieved by former Man Utd team-mates Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville.
And he could now take on the Class of 92 with his own hotel empire.
Our source said: "Football comes first for Cristiano – it always has.
"But he is now coming to that point in his career where he is looking beyond the game and at what comes next.
"The amazing opportunities that exist off the field here in the UK are a key part of the reason he wanted to return.
"He will be very hands-on with his Manchester hotel project and will be looking to open more sites once the first one is up and running.
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"Ronaldo has global appeal so his hotels are likely to be a huge success and he wants them to be the envy of the world.
"He’s seen how well Ryan, Gary and Paul have done and has been really impressed.
"But he has big plans of his own so The Class of 92 might be looking over their shoulder."
Earlier this year, planning chiefs in Manchester gave the nod for Ronaldo to open a new luxury hotel with a rooftop bar overlooking the city’s Piccadilly Gardens district.
The Portuguese hotel group Pestana are building the 150-bedroom 'high-end lifestyle' hotel on the corner of Piccadilly and Newton Street.
The Manc building will become the seventh Pestana branded hotel in the world and they all carry Ronaldo's iconic 'CR7' initials – alluding to the shirt number he has worn throughout his footballing career.
The £27million project involves the demolition of 67 Piccadilly, an empty and unsightly building which has been covered by scaffolding and advertising hoardings for almost 20 years.
A new 11-storey tower, including a ground floor bar, cafe, basement gym and roof terrace, is proposed to take its place.
The vacant upper floors of the neighbouring Halls Building at 69-75.
Piccadilly, which houses the Piccadilly Tavern, would be extended to accommodate part of the hotel.
Pestana claim the redevelopment would represent an 'important step towards delivering the full regeneration potential of the Northern Quarter', while also meeting growing demand within Manchester's hotel sector.
Ronaldo also has a hair transplant clinic in Marbella as he expands his ever-growing business portfolio and ten others in Portugal.
In all, that part of his business empire is now valued at a whopping £85m by Forbes.
It’s just the latest in a long line of business ventures for Ronaldo – who even owns his line of underwear.
Ronaldo's luxury hotels
Ronaldo has opened four hotels since his partnership with the Pestana Group began in 2015.
The football hero has venues in Madeira, Lisbon, New York and Madrid, with his Marrakesh and Paris hotels due to open shortly.
Ronaldo's seventh venue will be in Manchester – mirroring the number he famously wore during his first spell at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo's first hotel – in Funchal, the city of his birth on the island of Madeira – opened in 2016.
Covid permitting, fans can stay in the four-star hotel in Portugal from £117 per night, with a stunning sea view included.
CR7 opened his second hotel in the Portuguese capital later in 2016, located in the historic neighbourhood of Baixa Pombalina.
The renovated building is also modestly priced, with rooms costing from £115 per night.
Ronaldo's hotel empire expanded outside of Portugal in 2020 when he opened a cosmopolitan venue in midtown Manhattan, New York.
The Times Square hotel is described as 'modern' and 'comfortable' – with prices starting at £70 per night.
Man Utd's new signing opened his fourth hotel in June, the Gran Via in Madrid – the city where he spent nine years of his professional career.
The venue is described as a 'lifestyle hotel' for 'urban travellers', who will need to cough up £79 per night to enjoy the facilities.
Ronaldo's fifth hotel in Marrakech, Morocco was reportedly due to open in 2019 but is yet to welcome visitors to the luxurious venue.
Prices for the stunning hotel are yet to be released but it will reportedly have 168 rooms, two restaurants, a business centre and a spa.
The former Juventus star's sixth hotel in Paris is set to have 210 rooms – making it his biggest yet – and is located on the Rive Gauche.
Ronaldo said: "It makes perfect sense for the Pestana CR7 brand to be implemented in Paris, one of the most visited cities in the world."
Ronaldo's seventh venue is scheduled to open in 2023 after the footballer was given planning permission to build a new 11-storey tower.
The hotel is set to have 150 rooms plus a ground-floor lounge bar and a roof terrace, open to the public and guests.
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