Ronaldo ‘likely’ to warm bench going forward; Man Utd stars believe he will push for winter exit

Date published: Monday 12th September 2022 10:41 - Jason Soutar

Cristiano Ronaldo during a training session

There is an expectancy amongst the Manchester United players that Cristiano Ronaldo will pursue a move elsewhere in the January transfer window.

Ronaldo asked to leave in the summer, submitting a transfer request a day before he was due to return for pre-season training.

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The 37-year-old was linked with a host of clubs across Europe but only received one offer, coming from an unnamed Saudi Arabian outfit.

A move to Chelsea was rumoured, mainly due to Todd Boehly’s desire to explore a move, with former head coach Thomas Tuchel against the signing.

Ronaldo has been out of Erik ten Hag’s starting XI to start the season.

Marcus Rashford has started the season well leading the line, scoring three and assisting two in his opening six fixtures.

Anthony Martial played much of pre-season up top but has struggled with injuries during the competitive calendar.

With Ronaldo not playing as often as he would like, his Manchester United teammates believe the former Real Madrid forward still wants to leave, according to The Sun.

The 37-year-old has started twice this season – the 4-0 Premier League loss at Brentford and the 1-0 home defeat to Real Sociedad in the Europa League.

After returning late for pre-season training, Ronaldo is not up to speed with Ten Hag’s tactics and system.

His struggles, on top of Rashford’s form, will make it very difficult for the Portugal captain to break into Ten Hag’s preferred starting XI.

A source for The Sun said: “All the players loved it when Ronaldo came back to United last season but they are frustrated he missed pre-season.

“The manager put a lot of work into giving the squad detailed information about what he wanted them to do and how he wanted them to play.

“Ronaldo is not up to speed with that and is relying on instinct when he plays. But that doesn’t work in Ten Hag’s system.

“He often demands the ball too early in build-up play and drops deep for the ball, but that means when the ball is wide there is no-one in the middle to hit it into.

“Ten Hag and the rest of the players really rate Ronaldo.

“But it’s clear that the success they have had this season is from following tactical instruction rather than the individual brilliance they relied on last season.

“Ronaldo is likely to find himself on the bench again going forward.

“And he is going to have to get used to scoring a lot less goals because he is only being introduced towards the end of games when Ten Hag has already made changes which make United less attacking.

“He needs to realise it’s only going to work if he tunes into Ten Hag’s plans.”

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