From a fairy-tale return to an ignominious exit, not many would have envisaged Cristiano Ronaldo’s Manchester United story ending like this.
When it was announced that the Portuguese was returning to the club that put him on the world map last season, expectations were sky high and the aim was for United to return to the zenith guided by a legend of the club and fan favourite.
CR7 ruining his legacy
But the season soon careered out of control but Ronaldo was the only constant as he showed why he was held in such high regard despite his advancing years.
But under Erik ten Hag, the story has unravelled fast and now it seems United’s No 7 could be out of the club in January.
Things came to a head when the 27-year-old headed towards the dressing room with United comfortably beating Tottenham on Wednesday.
The club have since gone on to communicate that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will not be part of the squad for Saturday’s Chelsea game and will not even train with the first team.
If Ronaldo thought that would be the end of the story, he might have been sorely mistaken. Ten Hag is not the same type of person as former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
And the Dutch boss wants to end the era of player power and i paper has now exclusively revealed that an “exit strategy is being considered, and if no suitor can be found by super-agent Jorge Mendes, United may be willing to cut their losses and let him go on a free in January.”
For United, owned by the Glazer family, who have always emphasised the importance of off-field success over on-field consequences, this news comes as a welcome change. Finally, the club are backing their new manager unlike past instances.
United open to letting go of CR7
Interestingly, the report also mentions that despite super agent Jorge Mendes’ best attempts, there are doubts regarding Ronaldo’s conduct which has deterred quite a few potential suitors. Not to mention his astronomical wages and off-field baggage.
“Doubts over his conduct in the past 12 months have also deterred several high-profile teams.”
While Ten Hag was open to letting Ronaldo leave in the summer, when it emerged that no suitors would come forward, he reintegrated the former Real Madrid star and hoped his presence would rub off on his young stars.
“That thinking has very much changed, with the relationship between player and manager almost untenable,” the report goes on to add.
It seems like Ronaldo’s tale at United is almost at an end and hopefully, things do not get too bitter over the course of the last few months. Nobody would like to see him tarnish his legacy at the Old Trafford club.
Fans around the globe still see him as their idol and this incident has marred their perception of the star.
For United, who are slowly starting to hit top gear, a separation would be the best course of action, even if it means taking a big hit financially.
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