One of the only bright spots in an otherwise dismal season for Manchester United last time around was the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo.
In a campaign where United finished with a goal difference of 0 and in sixth place, the Portuguese notched 18 goals in the league, which proved to be the third highest in the division.
He single-handedly rescued United in numerous Champions League and Premier League games, netting two hat-tricks during the course of the season.
Last season’s hero
It was a well-known fact that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner wanted to leave the club for a side in the Champions League but his agent Jorge Mendes could not find him an escape route.
The 37-year-old missed pre-season due to personal reasons and has since found playing time increasingly hard to come by.
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He has started only once in the Premier League, a match that saw the Red Devils get thrashed 0-4 by Brentford. Ronaldo has had to make do with starts in the Europa League since.
In big games against Liverpool and Arsenal, he had to be content with a cameo appearance while he could not even come off the bench in the 3-6 hammering at the hands of Manchester City.
“Ronaldo is often at loggerheads with the latest coach of his long, and until now, relentlessly successful career. They speak of a footballer who complains about the nature and quality of training sessions, and who thinks United would be better off playing a different way,” the article says.
According to Castles, United’s No 7 is not happy with Ten Hag’s “stubborn” approach. The Dutchman is known for wanting his side to play in a particular way. something that the current team has not yet mastered.
That has been evident whenever the 20-time English champions have tried to go toe-to-toe with high-pressing sides like Brighton, Brentford and City in the derby.
Struggling under ETH
“Ronaldo is said to consider Ten Hag stubborn and unnecessarily wedded to an approach that worked impressively well at Ajax, yet has delivered catastrophic defeats to Brentford and City in his first 10 United matches,” Castles further elucidates.
All this is said to have infuriated Ronaldo and the former Real Madrid star desperately wants to leave in January. And despite what he says in press conferences, there is a growing belief that Ten Hag is also open to the idea.
“When Ronaldo returns from Qatar he hopes to be readying himself for a new club. Privately, Ten Hag would be happy to be relieved of the problem of sharing a dressing room with a player who openly opposes his methods.”
Tuchel’s removal from Chelsea does open the chance to make the short trip to London should the opportunity present itself.
Whether the club would be open to letting go of their most marketable asset in the middle of the season is a whole different topic altogether.
For now, both Ten Hag and Ronaldo are stuck together and supporters will be hoping that the pair can make it work and can take United into the top 4 this season.
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