ten Hag remains coy on Ronaldo's Man Utd future
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Manchester United icon Sir Alex Ferguson urged Cristiano Ronaldo to give Erik ten Hag a chance when the veteran returned to the club’s Carrington training ground on July 26, reports say. The Portugal international had, prior to that, asked to leave. And he’s still keen to play for a team in the Champions League as the close of the summer transfer window edges closer.
Manchester United were surprised when Ronaldo asked to leave the club earlier in the summer, having previously indicated he’d be willing to hang around.
He returned to Carrington for pre-season later than the rest of his team-mates, having been given extra time off for personal reasons.
And The Times say that, when Ronaldo did eventually come back, Ferguson implored him to give Ten Hag a chance before deciding on his future.
Over a month on, however, and the 37-year-old is still eager to leave for a team who can offer him Champions League football.
Ronaldo doesn’t want to play in the Europa League this term, with the Red Devils due to play against sides such as Real Sociedad, Sheriff and Omonia after being drawn against those teams in the group stages.
The Portugal international is also said to have contrasted his captains from his previous stints at the club with current skipper Harry Maguire.
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When Ronaldo first joined United in 2003, Roy Keane was his skipper. Keane was then succeeded by Gary Neville, while Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand also wore the armband on occasions.
At Real Madrid, Raul and Sergio Ramos were Ronaldo’s captains during his stint at the Bernabeu.
And, at Juventus, they had serial winner Giorgio Chiellini with the armband to ensure the rest of the players in the squad fall in line.
Since his Hollywood homecoming 12 months ago, Ronaldo has had to watch Harry Maguire lead the team – with the England international previously named skipper by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
But with Maguire now a bit-part player for Ten Hag, it seems the club’s No 7 thinks the 29-year-old isn’t good enough for the role.
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Whether Ronaldo does get his wish of a move away, with days of the transfer window remaining, will be fascinating to see.
While Ten Hag has publicly insisted he wants the veteran to stay, his stance is supposedly different behind the scenes.
With United pushing ahead with plans to recruit Antony from Ajax, Ronaldo could even fall further down the Dutchman’s pecking order – having been left on the bench for recent matches against Southampton and Liverpool.
The Red Devils also have an interest in Cody Gakpo and Memphis Depay, too.
And Ronaldo, having been underwhelmed by Ten Hag, will be hoping to avoid the humiliation of becoming even more of a bit-part player.
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Speaking recently, meanwhile, United legend Jaap Stam called on his old side to let Ronaldo go for the greater good of the team.
“Everybody knows Ronaldo and what he’s been doing for United last season and in the past, so everybody is looking up to him,” he said.
“So if he’s in the dressing room and he really wants to leave, and he’s not himself, or he’s sitting there by himself or he’s not in a good mood, then it has an impact on the players for sure.
“The experience that he has, Ronaldo, the age that he has, he also knows that he has an impact on players, on the team, so I cannot believe that he’s there moping and having a bad influence on players.
“I still believe that a player with his quality is still working very hard, even if you want to leave, because you need to be an example for everybody at this club.
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“Him saying that he wanted to play Champions League, he already knew last season that he wasn’t going to be playing Champions League with United, so I assume Ten Hag had a conversation with him before he started.
“And I don’t know if Ronaldo addressed it at this point, otherwise I’m thinking they could’ve made a decision earlier, before the season.
“I can understand that a manager wants to keep a player like this, because he’s of great value for the club and the team.
“But, if a player’s not happy at the club and he wants to leave, then you need to make a decision for the greater good and say ‘ok, maybe it’s better we part ways’ and look for somebody else.
“If he’s not happy, if he’s not performing, then sometimes it’s maybe better to make a different decision – not only for yourself, but for the team.”
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