Cristiano Ronaldo is looking more and more likely to stay at Manchester United this season.
That is according to The Telegraph’s James Ducker, who writes that:
“The signs point increasingly to Ronaldo being forced to stay at United next season with the club refusing to back down from their insistence the 37-year-old is not for sale.”
While the club’s stance is perhaps a factor, the more pressing issue for Ronaldo is that he has no obvious suitors.
A number of top European clubs have publicly distanced themselves from a move for the striker.
For Bayern Munich, it was a matter of an incompatible “philosophy.”
For Atletico Madrid, a move would be “practically impossible” before even getting into what their fans think of the player.
His name may have come up when Chelsea’s new owner Todd Boehly met Jorge Mendes, but Thomas Tuchel seemingly does not see Ronaldo as a player he can work with.
And while Napoli may well dream of turning the legendary goalscorer into a “Neapolitan icon, like Diego Maradona,” Ronaldo’s wages would be at least triple that of their current highest earner, even with a salary reduction.
🚨 Napoli dream of signing Cristiano Ronaldo and turning him into a Neapolitan icon, like Diego Maradona.
— Transfer News Live (@DeadlineDayLive) August 1, 2022
That leaves boyhood club Sporting Lisbon, who may have been “explored as [a] possible new club,” but it is unlikely that Ronaldo’s ego is yet ready to make that move.
Cristiano Ronaldo has reiterated his desire to leave #MUFC, with Sporting explored as possible new club.
CL goals record v Lionel Messi seen as motivating factor.
Antony ruled out at this stage. Talks over Benjamin Sesko but Salzburg reluctant to sell.https://t.co/PacAp5bj1v
— Laurie Whitwell (@lauriewhitwell) July 28, 2022
As Ducker writes, Ronaldo has “no obvious escape route at this stage.”
His involvement against Rayo Vallecano – regardless of the subsequent drama – suggests that both player and club are aware that another year at Old Trafford remains a strong possibility.
Sans-Ronaldo, the Red Devils managed 13 goals in four matches on tour, indicating that they can do without the Portugal captain on the pitch.
I previously assessed the statistical impact of Ronaldo on United’s other attackers last season and found further evidence in support of that claim.
What cannot be measured is Ronaldo’s impact on his teammates’ mentality, save perhaps to say that it does not appear positive.
It seems that the legendary goalscorer is set to see out his £25m contract as an albatross around the club’s neck – a problem Erik ten Hag could certainly do without.