Manchester United fans are waking up today to the possibility that they will never see Cristiano Ronaldo play for the club again.
Reports continue to circulate that the Portuguese wants a move away from Old Trafford in January, with his first club, Sporting Lisbon, the most recent potential venue to be touted.
Despite their summer reluctance, United are now believed to be willing to allow Ronaldo to leave should he find a club.
The 37 year old missed Thursday’s EFL Cup match against Aston Villa with illness, leaving today’s Premier League clash as the only remaining match before the World Cup.
And despite manager Erik ten Hag saying there was a possibility the striker would play, he did not board the team bus to Craven Cottage, did not take part in yesterday’s training and would appear to not even be in th UK.
On Friday, his mother, Dolores Aveiro, posted a photo of the pair together in what appears to be her home in Portugal, with the caption “Have a good weekend everybody”.
These facts taken together suggest it would be a big surprise if Ronaldo were to take part in today’s game.
Following the World Cup, United have just two matches before the January transfer window opens, an EFL Cup clash with Burnley on the 20th December and a Premier league clash with Nottingham Forest on the 27th.
Unless Ronaldo were to make himself available for those two games – which could become increasingly unlikely if Portugal, as expected, advance to the latter stages of the Qatar competition – it seems likely that we have seen the great man’s last match in a United shirt.
That match was the away loss to Aston Villa, in which Ronaldo – perhaps for this very reason and to honour him – was made captain of the side by Erik ten Hag.
If indeed that was his last match, United will be desperate to add a striker to the ranks early in the January window.
Borussia Dortmund’s 17 year old sensation Youssoufa Moukoko and Bayern Munich’s 33 year old veteran Eric Choupo-Moting have been the subject of most of the recent transfer rumours.
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