Manchester United have reportedly accepted that they will lose Cristiano Ronaldo this summer, according to a report by Neil Custis of The Sun. The 37-year-old Portuguese international has spent the last three days away from preseason training because of ‘family reasons‘.
Earlier in the summer, Ronaldo seemed to be happy and excited for the new era under the management of Erik ten Hag but something has gone drastically wrong for the player to be linked to an exit from the club just a year into his two-year contract he signed last August.
The report states that Ronaldo has already made up his mind that he wants to quit the Old Trafford club for the second time in his career after their lacklustre 2021/22 season and the fact there will be no UEFA Champions League football – which he knew in April.
United has previously stated that they will ensure the player remains at the club next season, honouring that two-year contract that he signed but the drama that has been created from these rumours could damage Erik ten Hag’s debut season as manager.
It was stated that Ten Hag was happy to keep Ronaldo in his team, previously stating that “Ronaldo is a giant, because of what he’s already shown and he’s still very ambitious. Of course I would like to keep him.” But now realises that he will have to plan without him.
Ronaldo finished the season as the clubs top scorer with 24 goals in all competitions with three assists in 37 appearances for the club. This has extended his appearances at the club to 329, scoring 142 goals and 71 assists – but that seems to be it for him.
United will have to find a way to move on from Ronaldo for a second time, struggling at this time with Anthony Martial, who has been rumoured to be put up for sale and no other experienced striker at the club. It could be that both Edinson Cavani and Ronaldo have left the club in the same summer.
Ten Hag could look to the transfer market to sign a striker, but the top targets are either moved on already this summer, or not seeking a move because of the FIFA World Cup in the winter. It is not an ideal time for Ronaldo to do this to United. It is almost like he cares about himself only.
That said, things could change but it looks unlikely. Ronaldo seemed to do this last summer to get out of Juventus and a year down the line, is again doing something to get out of a club. His options will be slim though as no top club is going to pay a 37-year-old the wages he’s getting now.
Written by John Walker