ten Hag remains coy on Ronaldo's Man Utd future
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Cristiano Ronaldo was furious when Manchester United players were told achieving a top-four finish for the season was the Glazers’ target, according to reports. The Portugal international has spent most of the summer transfer window hoping for a move away. However, with just days remaining, there’s still no guarantee that will end up happening.
Ronaldo scored 24 goals for Manchester United last season, with the veteran a shining light amid a difficult campaign under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.
However, his goals weren’t enough to propel the Red Devils into the Champions League – with the club qualifying for the Europa League with a sixth-placed finish instead.
Ronaldo informed United back in June that he wants out, with the veteran eager to play at the highest level as he approaches the final years of his career.
According to The Times, Red Devils chiefs set players a target before the season started.
With the Glazers content with just Champions League qualification, Ronaldo decided he ‘did not want to suffer a season of Europa League football under executives who’d told the squad that their target for the 2022-23 Premier League campaign was a fourth-place finish’.
Ronaldo seems to have different ambitions and is believed to be unhappy at the lack of winners within United’s squad.
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They’ve moved to bolster in that department, with Lisandro Martinez and Casemiro previously winning league titles at Ajax and Real Madrid respectively.
But Ronaldo is unhappy with the state of United’s squad and that is one of the reasons why he’s seeking a new challenge elsewhere.
Richard Arnold, it’s said, handled Ronaldo’s request to leave the club with a ‘degree of sensitivity’.
United then allowed the 37-year-old some time off to deal with a family matter, something the Portugal international appreciated, while also hoping an extended break would ‘soften his position in the exit’.
Alas, that didn’t happen with Ronaldo just as eager to leave as he was a few months ago.
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The veteran feels United sold him a ‘story’ of winning the Premier League title together, and that him returning to Old Trafford instead of leaving for Manchester City would help the squad achieve their aim.
It didn’t happen, though, with the Red Devils finishing sixth and getting nowhere near landing the biggest prize.
Ronaldo was also unhappy at having to take a 25 per cent pay cut due to United’s failure to qualify for Europe’s top club competition.
He felt he shouldn’t be penalised when, with 18 Premier League goals, he’d done everything in his power to ensure that didn’t happen.
But, for now, there are no obvious suitors for the player.
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Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Napoli, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Sporting Lisbon have all been linked – but nobody has provided Ronaldo with a concrete offer besides a team in Saudi Arabia.
All signs currently point to Ronaldo staying put, despite his wish to go.
Yet that’s unlikely to stop United from bolstering their attack, with the likes of Antony, Cody Gakpo and Memphis Depay all on their radar.
Meanwhile, Casemiro recently said he wanted Ronaldo to stay at the club after moving to England from La Liga giants Real Madrid.
“Cris…we’re talking about a player who, in my opinion, is one of the best of all time,” Casemiro said.
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“The illusion of being able to play with him again…he knows the respect I have for him.
“I hope he stays, because he is a player who gives you leadership, gives you a lot of goals, is a winner and is very important to us.
“He knows the affection and respect I have for him.
“Speaking Portuguese as well, we’ve got closer. He’s a guy that, since the first day I arrived here, has helped me a lot, gave me advice and continues to help me a lot.
“I hope he stays with us, because he is a great player, one of the best of all time. Undoubtedly, for us, he’s very important.”
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