Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Erik ten Hag delivers crystal clear response on the Man Utd future of Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo Man Utd March 2022

Incoming Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag has labelled Cristiano Ronaldo a “giant” amid an emphatic response about his future at Old Trafford.

The Dutchman, 52, will arrive in Manchester today (Monday, May 16). His early arrival stems from the fact the last six weeks of his Ajax deal have been terminated.

Ten Hag will therefore not be present for Ajax’s post-season trip to Curacao. Instead, he will waste little time in getting to work on the rebuilding project at Manchester United.

Speculation has swirled Ten Hag may be in the stands for United’s final match away to Crystal Palace on Sunday.

However, transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has ended any talk that Ten Hag could actually be in the dugout for the contest.

Romano tweeted Ralf Rangnick will be in charge for the trip to the capital. Once concluded, he’ll then take his position as a consultant to the board.

Ten Hag rounded out his final season in Amsterdam with another Eredivisie title. And following their 2-2 draw with Vitesse Arnhem on Sunday, Ten Hag allayed any concerns he might have no place for Ronaldo in his system.

Speculation over a premature Ronaldo exit has always lingered once it became apparent United would not qualify for the Champions League.

Doubts as to whether Ronaldo, at 37, can mesh with Ten Hag’s energetic style have also been expressed.

“Definitely Ronaldo, he is a giant”

But following his final match at Ajax, Ten Hag insisted Ronaldo is “definitely” in his plans.

“From tomorrow, my focus will be on United, and I will of course get deep into things there,” said Ten Hag.

“What I have to say about it is, the detailed analysis still has to begin. I still have to work with the team, but let me be clear that at United there are a lot of good players around.

“We have to make them function as a team but definitely Ronaldo, he is a giant.”

Ronaldo spoke about Ten Hag over the weekend, and urged all involved to give the new man time to make his mark.

“What I know about him is he did a fantastic job for Ajax, that he’s an experienced coach,” said Ronaldo (via the Metro).

“But we need to give him time. Things need to change the way he wants.

“I hope we have success, of course, because, if you have success, all of Manchester is going to have success as well. I wish him the best.

“We are happy and excited, not only as players, but the supporters as well. I wish him the best and let’s believe that, next year, we are going to win trophies.”

Ten Hag right to retain Ronaldo?

While Ronaldo will provide little-to-nothing when out of possession, it’s unquestionable he remains a potent force in front of goal.

His 18 league goals make him the third-highest scorer in the league and that’s in a team that has lacked rhythm in the final third all season.

What’s more, he has nine goals including two hat-tricks in his last seven matches. That showcases the Portuguese icon can still be just as effective late into a campaign as he is in the early going despite being 37.

Furthermore, other areas of United’s squad may be in more urgent need of attention. Indeed, central midfield looks in desperate need of a revamp and there are question marks at both centre-half and right-back.

United do continue to be linked with a major acquisition up front. Indeed, Victor Osimhen and Darwin Nunez continue to be mentioned.

Though if Ronaldo will accept playing second fiddle a little more than he is accustomed to, we see no reason why United should cut ties this summer.