06 Jul 2022 | 08:34 | Football
Cristiano Ronaldo’s shock request to leave Manchester United has thrown Erik ten Hag’s plans into disarray as he tries to contain the Portuguese star’s power play failure.
Just a year after returning to United in a blockbuster transfer from Juventus, Ronaldo has become so frustrated that he is trying to figure out how to leave Old Trafford.
The 37-year-old is said to have told United he wants to be sold, with his agent Jorge Mendes said to have been in talks with Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Napoli as he searches for a club with Ronaldo’s ability to fulfill his ambitions.
Ronaldo’s frustrations have grown during a tumultuous campaign that has seen United go through three coaches as they finished a disappointing sixth in the Premier League.
Although Ronaldo was United’s top scorer with 24 goals in all competitions, his side ended the championship season and failed to qualify for the Champions League.
The prospect of playing in the Europa League is unlikely to appeal to the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who has lifted the Champions League title five times.
Ronaldo has a year left on his contract and United insist the former Real Madrid striker is not for sale.
Ten Hag has expressed excitement at the prospect of Ronaldo being employed, but may have to plan for a future without his best player.
If Ten Hag hopes to convince Ronaldo to give up his transfer demand, the former Ajax boss will be discouraged by the star’s absence as the rest of United’s internationals arrive to start. their pre-season training program on Monday.
United will fly to Thailand on Friday for their Asia and Australia tour.
If Ronaldo misses the trip, it seems almost certain that his second at United will come to an abrupt end.
– Dark presence –
New Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly is said to be intrigued by the idea of starting a new era at Stamford Bridge with the signing of Ronaldo.
It remains to be seen whether Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel can accept the move after Ronaldo’s first season back in Manchester.
While Ronaldo’s finishing quality remains unmatched, he rarely shows any signs of wanting to engage in the high-tempo pressing play that interim manager Ralf Rangnick hopes to deploy.
Ronaldo’s lack of dynamism and dubious work ethic convinced Rangnick to tell United’s director of football John Murtough to sell him in the January transfer window.
That request was disapproved and Ronaldo remained a bleak presence around the club for the remainder of the season.
He has openly clashed with Rangnick after being substituted for the game at Brentford, while there were reports of problems between the star and United captain Harry Maguire.
Ten Hag will no doubt be aware that life with Ronaldo is rarely smooth sailing and may even be considering whether he would be better off without the distractions surrounding the star.
Now, Manchester City and Liverpool are several steps ahead of United and for Ten Hag to make them contenders for their first English title since 2013, he needs to clean up a squad that has become toxic. in the previous season.
Paul Pogba’s divisive departure is a step in the right direction and Ten Hag hopes to seal the squad with several signings in the coming days.
Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen is said to have agreed a three-year deal, with Feyenoord left-back Tyrell Malacia close to signing.
Ten Hag are also pursuing Barcelona midfielder Frenkie De Jong and Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez.
Those deals will be encouraging but more importantly, Ten Hag must resolve Ronaldo’s dilemma without letting a volatile situation spiral out of control.