Rio Ferdinand has implored Man Utd to make the right decision on the future of Cristiano Ronaldo after referencing Darwin Nunez and Erling Haaland.
Ronaldo made Man Utd aware of his desire to continue playing Champions League football last month. That can only happen next season if Ronaldo departs just one year after his return to Old Trafford.
However, concrete interest from those that can offer UCL football hasn’t emerged. On the cusp of the new season beginning, Ronaldo remains firmly rooted in Manchester.
What’s more, a hamstring injury suffered by Anthony Martial could see Erik ten Hag spared a difficult selection headache against Brighton.
Martial will miss the visit of the Seagulls, meaning Ronaldo may re-take his place at the tip of the attack. Alternatively, Marcus Rashford could move centrally with Anthony Elanga taking the wing role.
In his view, United simply cannot sell such a reliable goalscorer unless they have a suitable replacement lined up.
However, three such targets that could’ve filled the void – Darwin Nunez, Erling Haaland and Robert Lewandowski – have already moved.
As such, Ferdinand believes United simply “can’t get Ronaldo go”, even if he’s “begging” to leave.
“People are saying you’ve got to let Ronaldo go… Well, get someone in who can score 24-25 goals first,” said Ferdinand.
“Darwin Nunez has gone, Erling Haaland has gone and Robert Lewandowski has gone.
“They were the three players that you were thinking, ‘look these are the only ones that you were going to go for that will outright come into the Manchester United team immediately’. But they’re gone.
“So Manchester United can’t let Ronaldo go, they can’t. Even if he’s begging to go, they just can’t let him go. It’s not the right thing to do, I don’t think.”
Ten Hag offers Ronaldo olive branch
Ronaldo was among a group of United players who left their pre-season friendly against Rayo Vallecano before the full time whistle.
Ten Hag branded the move “unacceptable”, though has since rowed back from such a strong stance in public.
Indeed, in his Friday press conference the Dutchman claimed Ronaldo has been unfairly singled out despite a cluster of United players taking the same course of action during the Rayo clash.
“There were many players who left early and the spotlight is on Cristiano – that is not right. Do your research,” exclaimed Ten Hag.
“I am really happy. We have a top striker. He is here and is in the squad.”
Whether Ronaldo is the right fit for Ten Hag’s system is clearly open to debate. Though what does seem clear is the Portuguese icon will not be cast aside if he does remain in Manchester.