Cristiano Ronaldo has left Man United high and dry with handling of desire to leave Old Trafford

The final of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Manchester United career is now in play. Despite the club’s public position that the Portuguese striker will not leave Old Trafford this summer, it is becoming increasingly likely that he has already made his last appearance in a United shirt.

A delayed return to the first day of pre-season training on Monday for family reasons follows after sources told ESPN over the weekend Ronaldo plans to leave United less than a year after his return to Old Trafford, 12 years after he originally left Real Madrid . It’s also unclear whether Ronaldo will fly to Bangkok with the rest of the squad on Friday for the start of United’s two-and-a-half-week tour of Thailand and Australia.

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Erik ten Hag has always had a bumpy ride in his first few months as United’s new manager due to the mountain of problems he inherited from his predecessors, but a frenzy of speculation about the future of his best-known player distracts him without being able to.

However, sources have told ESPN that United would be ready to sack 37-year-old Ronaldo if a club outside the Premier League is willing to take on the final 12 months of his £500,000-a-week contract. As ESPN reported on Saturday, there is cautious interest from Bayern Munich and Napoli, while sources said on Monday Chelsea have been told the former Real Madrid and Juventus player could be ready to join Stamford Bridge but not yet must decide whether he will make a formal offer.

A move to Chelsea would not be palatable for United at the moment given the club’s determination to qualify for the 2023-24 Champions League. With Chelsea a direct competitor for a top-four finish in the Premier League, there is little prospect of Ronaldo being allowed to move to Stamford Bridge, but there would be less opposition within the United hierarchy to a deal with Bayern Munich’s Napoli or any other European team that might still emerge as a potential target.

And while United’s consistent message all summer has been that Ronaldo is part of new boss Ten Hag’s plans and will be at the club next season, sources said there is an acceptance it will eventually help him grow allow to go now Reconstruction program of former Ajax coach. But for perhaps the first time in his two tenures at United, Ronaldo has let the team down by waiting until now – just five weeks before the start of the new season – to signal his desire to leave Old Trafford to go there play Champions League next season.

On June 3, Ronaldo spoke to United’s official website and, without directly saying he would stay, gave a strong indication that he would stay at the club, speaking of “wanting to win trophies next year”. and Ten Hag “time to make changes.” However, sources have told ESPN that behind the scenes at United this summer, there was a feeling Ronaldo was waiting for the right moment to push for a move and that in few tears would be shed in the dressing room if he chose to leave, indicating tensions within the squad surrounding Ronaldo and his sophisticated personality.

But while many of his team-mates may be happy to see Ronaldo leaving, he has left United behind in terms of finding a replacement by now allowing news of his dissatisfaction at the club. United are already working in the transfer market this summer with no signings made before the full squad return to training. Sources have said Feyenoord left-back Tyrell Malacia will make a move within the next 48 hours, Christian Eriksen has agreed to join the club on a three-year deal and there are hopes that Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez will also arrive this week becomes. But primary target Frenkie de Jong is yet to be signed from Barcelona and no additions have been made to attacking options. With Ronaldo gone, United will have to find a replacement for the player who was the top scorer with 24 goals last season. Ajax winger Antony is high on the list of targets but the 22-year-old would be more of a gamble than the proven United goalscorer he would clearly need.

But by keeping United waiting until now to make his intentions clear, Ronaldo has prevented the club from competing for strikers who have already made big strides. Richarlison (Everton to Tottenham Hotspur) and Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City to Arsenal) would have offered tried and tested options, while United could have made a more concerted effort to thwart Liverpool’s move to sign Darwin Nunez from Benfica. As it stands now, they could try to beat Barcelona against Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski or even offer Paris Saint-Germain a chance to take Neymar out of their hands, but those are the kind of high-profile last-minute deals that do United tries to leave the past behind. But Ronaldo has made sure that everything has to come to the table now.

Nobody comes out of this situation well. Ronaldo should have made his intentions clear at the end of last season, but United and Ten Hag also had opportunities to push the issue and deal with it much earlier. The end result of the communication failure on both sides is a situation that puts both parties in a race against time that neither fits.

Ronaldo will need to find a club ready and willing to fund his signing, while United need to find and sign a replacement while also trying to reinforce Ten Hag’s side with the already much-needed reinforcements.

But one thing is certain: Ronaldo’s time at United is over. Cristiano Ronaldo has left Man United high and dry with handling of desire to leave Old Trafford

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