Cristiano Ronaldo ‘asks to leave Man Utd’ throwing Erik ten Hag plans into doubt
Cristiano Ronaldo has stunned Manchester United by asking to leave the club this summer after reportedly handing in a transfer request.
The Portuguese superstar has made it clear he wants to end his second spell at Old Trafford and requested the Red Devils consider offers from interested clubs in the current transfer window, less than a year after rejoining the club for £12million from Juventus.
According to The Times, the 37-year-old believes he has three or four years left at the highest level and is keen to spend them at a club where he is capable of adding to his glittering collection of trophies and individual honours.
The report adds that sources close to Ronaldo claim that he maintains respect for the club and its supporters, he is pursuing a transfer on both sporting and personal grounds. It is understood Ronaldo and his family have been through a difficult period following the death of his infant son during childbirth in April.
Ronaldo was one of the key protagonists in an otherwise disappointing season for the Red Devils, scoring 24 goals in all competitions and 18 in the Premier League. United finished sixth after sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November, with Rangnick taking temporary charge until the end of the campaign.
But United failed to secure a top-four spot that would have secured Champions League football for next season, prompting speculation that Ronaldo may look to move on. The all-time international record goalscorer is keen to play at the highest level and United’s regression from second to sixth painted a worrying picture.
It casts a dark shadow over Erik ten Hag’s first month in charge of the club after succeeding Ralf Rangnick, throwing the Dutchman’s summer plans into crisis. The 52-year-old had made it clear in his first press conference that he valued Ronaldo as an important part of his squad for next season.
But the United star’s apparent desire to head for the exit has thrown a spanner in the works for Ten Hag, who has already seen Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic head for the exit. Losing a player of Ronaldo’s calibre, without an obvious replacement available, means United could be forced into the market to find a replacement.
Bayern Munich are thought to be one of the clubs interested in signing Ronaldo, with the Bavarians’ talisman Robert Lewandowski keen to join Barcelona this summer. And in June, reports suggested Chelsea owner Todd Boehly was keen to explore the opportunity of signing Ronaldo in a sensational deal before United issued a hands-off warning.