Cristiano Ronaldo remains a “source of friction” at Manchester United and his decision to leave the club last month was met with jubilation by the “majority” of his team-mates, claims a report.
The 37-year-old striker remains in limbo at Old Trafford after failing to secure a move away from the club. It became evident last month that the veteran striker was hunting for an escape route. With Champions League still on his agenda.
So far though neither Jorge Mendes or United have found a suitor willing to take the forward. Not surprising given Ronaldo’s £500,000 a week contract at Old Trafford. And with only a bit-part role at United likely this season the next few days will be crucial in Ronaldo’s future.
He was used only as a late sub in the 1-0 win over Southampton, while his team-mates continued the momentum created from the win over Liverpool. And there seems no real prospect of Erik ten Hag reversing his decision to drop the forward after the defeat at Brentford.
United’s back-to-back wins have lifted the gloom at Old Trafford, but a report from ESPN claims Ronaldo remains “a divisive figure within the squad”.
Ronaldo demands the highest standards in and around the club’s training ground. But sources have claimed Ronaldo cannot accept that the United he joined last summer are not the club he left 2009.
He “expects the likes of Harry Maguire and Rashford to perform like Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney”. And with United’s current squad not able to perform like their predecessors, frustration has set in from Ronaldo.
But the strained relationship between Ronaldo and his team-mate has not been one way.
ESPN claim, via a source, that when it became public that Ronaldo wanted to leave, the news was greeted “with joy by the majority of his team-mates”.
So much so that the feeling was that Ronaldo had become a “pain in the a***”.
It’s a sentiment that is probably shared by Ten Hag. Although he has always publicly maintained he wants to keep the former Juventus striker.
Ronaldo’s options running out
But Ten Hag has had nothing but hassle from Ronaldo this summer. The Portugal star cited “personal reasons” after missing the team’s pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia.
He then angered his new manager by leaving Old Trafford at half-time of a pre-season friendly against Rayo Vallecano. And then when he was handed his only start of the campaign, against Brentford, he put in a woeful showing in the 4-0 reverse.
Former Dutch boss Bert van Marwijk believes Ronaldo needs selling and soon.
“A player like Ronaldo often has a suffocating effect on a team,” said van Marwijk.
But the prospect of a departure for Ronaldo is getting slimmer by the day. Atletico Madrid, PSG, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea and Bayern Munich have all turned down the chance to sign Ronaldo.
And according to Spanish journalist Edu Aguirre, via Football-Italia, the superstar has recently turned down a move to Napoli.