Manchester City’s prospective new owners are weighing up a staggering £135 million offer for Cristiano Ronaldo in January as the club attempt to topple the established elite of European football.

Having lived in the shadow of Manchester United for so long, City could be about to test the resolve of their fierce rivals with an offer that would obliterate the world transfer record and send shock waves through the sport and beyond.

The extraordinary revelations come as the ruling al-Nahyan family of Abu Dhabi moves closer to completing a £200 million buyout of City from Thaksin Shinawatra.

To put it into context, £135 million is more than twice United’s operating profits for the 2006-07 season, more than double the amount that Randy Lerner paid for Aston Villa two years ago and almost three times the world record transfer fee of £47.5 million that Juventus received from Real for Zinédine Zidane in 2001.

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Manchester City defender Michael Ball has admitted to a FA charge of violent conduct after stamping on Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo in Saturday’s derby.

‘I deeply regret what I did and have accepted the FA’s charge without hesitation. I have also sent a personal apology to Cristiano,’ Ball told City’s website.

‘My action should not be seen on a football pitch and I know we have a responsibility at Premier League level to set a good example to the whole football community.’

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The ugly incident where Michael Ball stamped on Ronaldo’s stomach during the Manchester derby.

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