Tue, 28 Jun 2022

New Man Utd boss reveals Ronaldo plans

17 May 2022, 00:47 GMT+10

Ronaldo's future has been in doubt since Erik ten Hag was announced as the new Red Devils boss

Manchester United's new manager Erik ten Hag wants to ensure that star striker Cristiano Ronaldo remains at Old Trafford next season as the Dutchman plots a rebuild to restore the Red Devils' status as an elite English club.

Ronaldo's goalscoring form on his return to Manchester was among the only bright sparks in a season in which the former standard-bearers of English football floundered under the leadership of first Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and then interim coach Ralf Rangnick.

There has been constant media scrutiny about Ronaldo's future at the club given United's impending absence from the Champions League - and after the Portuguese icon refused to be drawn into speculation that he would affirm his commitment to the club for next season. 

Furthermore, pundits have claimed that Ronaldo wouldn't fit neatly into Ten Hag's style of play which demands a high press from his forwards - something which doesn't necessarily fall within Ronaldo's skillset. 

But speaking with Dutch reporter Mike Verweij, as noted by Fabrizio Romano, the retention of United's main goalscoring outlet is key to Ten Hag's plans for the forthcoming campaign.

"I want to keep Cristiano at Man United, of course. He has been very important for this club," Ten Hag is reported to have said of Ronaldo, who turns 38 midway through next season.

"Ronaldo is a giant, because of everything he has shown so far and because of how ambitious he is."

It may not be quite so easy, however.

Ronaldo is under contract for one more season (with the option of another) but it has been speculated that he may not consider playing outside of European football's top cup competition, the Champions League, at such a stage of his career when the pursuit of silverware is paramount to the serial winner.

He has also cut a forlorn figure at time at Old Trafford, sometimes unable to hide his scorn for some of the abject performances from his teammates in what was the club's worst spell in the Premier League era. 

Ronaldo, 37, has also let his frustration get the better of him on occasion. Last month, he was heavily criticized for slapping a phone out of the hands of a child at Old Trafford.

The family of the child angrily rejected Ronaldo's attempts to meet to patch up matters.

Should Ronaldo assert that he wants to leave Old Trafford it is unlikely that the club would stand in his way, lest they invite criticism of mistreating a club legend in the finals stages of an iconic career.

READ MORE: Ronaldo and partner Rodriguez share first family photo since death of baby

Ronaldo would have no shortage of suitors should be hit the market, either. Paris Saint-Germain would be a possible landing point, while he has also been tentatively linked with a return former clubs Real Madrid and Sporting Lisbon.

Either way, Ten Hag will be eager to receive a final declaration of Ronaldo's intentions for next season as he becomes the latest high-profile manager drafted in to live in Alex Ferguson's still-dominant shadow in the red half of Manchester. 

Ronaldo has struck 24 goals in 38 appearances for United in all competitions this season. The Old Trafford club travel to Crystal Palace for their final Premier League game of the campaign on Sunday. 

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