On Saturday, July 2nd, the Times broke the news that Cristiano Ronaldo has asked to leave Manchester United should the Premier League club receive a satisfactory offer in the transfer window.
According to the report, the Portugal international believes he has three or four years left at the highest level of the game and therefore, the 37-year-old’s decision was said to be driven by a desire to play in the Champions League for the remainder of his career and to be part of a team that can challenge for Europe’s biggest prize.
Many Manchester United fans will wonder why did Ronaldo leave this announcement so late, as the striker knew for a long time that the Manchester club would not be in the competition and the Red Devils would have already set out their strategy for the upcoming window – which would not have included a new striker due to the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s presence.
Many United fans are not happy that the club have been left in the dark by Ronaldo as the speculation over his future surrounds an important pre-season for Erik ten Hag and it is a pre-season that the Portuguese superstar has not shown up to.
Ronaldo has taken to his social media to update people that he is still training alone but with Man United reiterating that the 37-year-old is not for sale and part of their plans, the striker needs to get back into the fold of things, as it looks like he will be walking back to Old Trafford with his tail between his legs unless a club makes a move for the superstar.
So, let’s assess the likely outcome for Ronaldo in this unnecessary saga.
As previously mentioned, Manchester United have reiterated several times that Ronaldo is not for sale. The club wants the 37-year-old to honour his contract and Man United boss Erik ten Hag has also made it clear that he wants the Portugal international to stay.
This week when asked about when Ronaldo would return to training, the Dutchman said via the Guardian: “I cannot tell you. Not yet.”
The new United boss also addressed the suggestions that the striker won’t fit his style of play and that he will slow United down by stating: “I have set my demand. We want to play in a certain way. A top player can contribute and Ronaldo is an absolute top player in our squad.
“Cristiano is capable of doing that [pressing]. In his career, he has shown everything.”
Ten Hag’s answers were very diplomatic as it is well known that Ronaldo still wants to leave and should that come to fruition, the Dutch coach certainly would not mind, as it would allow him to focus on younger players whilst also relieving the pressure of having a superstar like Ronaldo in his squad.
However, Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes is having no luck finding the 37-year-old a new club and the likelihood of him staying at Old Trafford is now very likely.
Ten Hag will of course find a way to integrate Ronaldo into his team as the Portuguese star will at the very least score goals, and many of them. Whether the striker’s relationship with the United fans is still intact remains to be seen, as this whole scenario is slowly coming to an embarrassing conclusion for the superstar.
The main club that could save Ronaldo from his blushes is Bayern Munich, but at present, the German champions are showing no interest in signing the superstar.
The Bundesliga side have a gigantic Robert Lewandowski-shaped hole in their squad, after the Polish superstar joined Barcelona this summer, and haven’t replaced him like for like yet although Sadio Mane will likely fill the void for this season.
Ronaldo was linked to Bayern in the aftermath of his wish to leave Man United but everyone of importance at the club has since rebuffed the idea, as it is not their philosophy to sign old superstars.
Speaking to the German outlet Kicker, Oliver Kahn first stated this by saying: “As much as I appreciate Cristiano Ronaldo as one of the greatest in history, a transfer would not fit into our philosophy.”
That was followed up by Bayern’s director Hasan Salihamidzic last week, who told Sport1 via Fabrizio Romano: “I have a lot of respect for Cristiano Ronaldo, his successes and his career. But once again: that was and is not a topic for us.”
This avenue seems closed to Ronaldo right now but as the transfer window evolves and the club gets over the departure of Lewandowski, a re-thinking of the idea of recruiting the Portugal star could come to pass.
This is certainly the romantic outcome for Ronaldo and football fans but it is one that is highly unlikely. According to Sport TV this week, via Daily Mirror, Sporting Lisbon were said to be exploring the possibility of signing the Man United superstar on loan.
Ronaldo started his career with the Portuguese side and it is a club that is close to his heart but the player has since taken to social media to brandish the report “fake”.
The chances of Ronaldo returning to Sporting at this stage seem very slim, as there’s no doubt the Portuguese star will be desperate to join an elite Champions League club to prove himself instead.
This would be a sensational story should the Portugal star return to where it all started, but Old Trafford looks like the theatre Ronaldo will be performing in next season as there is simply no road away for the superstar at present.