The Portuguese superstar's salary could be reduced by 25%, according to reports
Reports have claimed that Manchester United ace Cristiano Ronaldo could have his wages slashed by 25% if the struggling club fails to qualify for the Champions League next season.
The 36-year-old rejoined the Red Devils from Juventus on the last day of the summer transfer window and has individually made a reasonable start to his second life at Old Trafford with 14 goals in 23 apperances.
Slowly but surely, however, collective results dipped under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was fired in late November, and haven't been much better on the watch of his interim replacement Ralf Rangnick.
United currently languish in seventh in the English top flight - two points behind fourth-placed West Ham with a game in hand.
Yet rivals for the last qualification spot for Europe's leading club competition Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal have played two and one matches fewer respectively than the Mancunians, and should they be pipped to the post by any of the mentioned three outfits, Ronaldo is reportedly set to see his whopping $522,000 per week pay packet reduced.
As part of a piece detailing how Ronaldo's return to United "hasn't gone to plan," The Athletic say that Ronaldo's salary will drop to $390,000 in such circumstances.
Not only would this be the lowest sum he has taken home in some time, but it would also automatically make goalkeeper David De Gea their highest-earning player on $509,000.
Ronaldo already took a pay cut to join United from Juventus, where he was on a reported $678,000-a-week, and there have been rumors this week that he will seek pastures new if his current employers cannot guarantee Champions League football.
According to The Sun, the topic was raised by the five-time Ballon d'Or winner's representatives in discussion with United's incoming chief executive Richard Arnold, who will take over next month.
Though Ronaldo has not commented on this directly, an explosive interview with Sky Sports recently saw him voice disapproval with the mentality at his club and what his expectations are.
"I don't want to be here to be in sixth place, or seventh place, or fifth place," the ex-Real Madrid star stated, after saying that he cannot "accept that our mentality [is] less than being in the top three in the Premier League."
"I'm here to try to win, to compete. I think we compete but we are not yet [at] our best level," he added.
United are of course still in the Champions League this term and can qualify for next season's edition by going on to win the tournament after seeing off La Liga holders Atletico Madrid in the last 16 in February.
With other big outfits such as PSG and Real Madrid around, however, this seems unlikely meaning they must now look to bridging the gap between themselves and West Ham by beating and overtaking the east Londoners in a vital home clash on Saturday.