Cristiano Ronaldo could get his wish sooner than you might think after Erik ten Hag changed his stance on the striker’s future at Man Utd, per a report.
The Portuguese legend, 37, re-joined Manchester United amid great fanfare in 2021. He was greeted like a returning hero and did exactly what he was expected to do, top scoring for the club with 24 goals in all competitions last season.
However, United as a team appeared to suffer and neither Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or Ralf Rangnick could turn their fortunes around.
The arrival of Erik ten Hag put Ronaldo’s future in sharp focus.
Ronaldo has often been deemed a poor fit for Ten Hag’s energetic and pressing style. What’s more, the absence of Champions League football was always going to rankle Ronaldo.
He made Manchester United aware of his desire to leave the club last summer. Chasing his UCL ambitions was reportedly a key reason behind his exit wish. However, concrete interest from those in that competition did not emerge.
The only serious offer he and United received was from Saudi Arabian club, Al-Hilal.
Ronaldo elected to stay, something that suited Ten Hag who didn’t want to lose such a potent attacker from his ranks.
However, Ronaldo has been relegated to a bit-part player under the new boss, with Marcus Rashford favoured at centre-forward.
What’s more, Anthony Martial – who Ten Hag played up front in pre-season prior to his injury – is now fully fit again.
Ten Hag reverses course
Ronaldo’s future at Old Trafford looks far from certain and a new report from the Telegraph claims he could leave as early as January.
They claim Ten Hag has reversed his stance on Ronaldo. As such, he ‘will not stand in his way if a suitable offer arrives.’
That suits Ronaldo just fine who it’s stressed still wants to leave the club. In their words, he’s ‘hoping to get a move in January’ after failing to land the ‘transfer he wanted’ last summer.
Ronaldo reportedly hopes his gametime improves over the next six weeks in order to help attract a suitor.
Failing that, he’ll be banking on a strong showing at the Qatar World Cup to remind Europe’s big hitters he has plenty left to give.
Have Man Utd disrespected Cristiano Ronaldo?
A visibly frustrated Ronaldo could only watch on as United were torn apart against Man City on Sunday.
When Ten Hag shuffled his pack in the second half, it was Martial – not Ronaldo – who was brought on to test City’s defence.
Martial bagged a brace, but former United captain, Roy Keane, was not amused by the decision.
Speaking in the Sky Sports studio post-match, Keane said: “I think Man Utd are showing disrespect to Cristiano Ronaldo. I think he should have been let go before the [closing] of the window.
“Okay, you’re the manager, you need options but you don’t hold onto Ronaldo to sit on the bench. He’s one of the greatest players ever.
“He’s played him in one or two European games. It’s just going to get uglier as the season goes on.
“If he’s sitting on the bench for United, week in, week out it’s just going to get uglier. I think United have shown nothing but disrespect to Ronaldo.
“They should have let him go when the opportunity came. He did have options, I know that for a fact.
“But to hold onto Ronaldo to sit on the bench, I think is ridiculous for a player of his stature.”
Per the Telegraph, Ten Hag has now come round to that line of thinking. Ronaldo’s stint back at Old Trafford could now end as early as January.