Erik ten Hag Will Let Cristiano Ronaldo Leave if He Wants
It is known that Cristiano Ronaldo has not been overly happy about spending time on the bench at Manchester United, and a transfer could be on the horizon for the Portuguese star. Ronaldo may be moving now that club manager, Erik ten Hag, will not stop him from leaving for the right offer, according to a report from The Telegraph on Monday.
The comment from ten Hag came the day after Ronaldo spent 90 minutes watching from the bench as Manchester United was decimated 6-3 by Manchester City. It is a shock to see one of the best players of all time sitting on the bench in a derby match, but ten Hag had his reasoning.
“I wouldn’t bring him in out of respect for Cristiano, for his big career,” ten Hag said following the match, as reported by ESPN.
Manchester United started the match down 4-0 and ten Hag’s comment somewhat makes sense because Ronaldo is not the player he once was. He can no longer turn an entire game on its head with his presence.
So far, the 2022-23 Premier League season has been one to forget for Ronaldo, as he has started in just one league match a 4-0 thrashing against Brentford in the second weekend of the season. The 37-year-old has yet to score in league play — his only goal this season coming from the penalty spot against Sheriff Tiraspol in the UEFA Europa League.
Following last season, there was speculation that Ronaldo could be on his way with reports of an offer worth over £200 million coming from Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal. In the 2021-22 season Ronaldo finished with 24 goals for Manchester United while starting in 31 of the 39 matches he featured in.
At 37, Ronaldo is nearing the end of his career and no longer has the skill and speed to compete in the world’s best leagues. Just look at FIFA 23 in which Ronaldo was given an overall rating of 90, his lowest rating in the game since FIFA 11 when he was an 89 overall.
While he may not be the mind-blowing player that he once was, there are a few options of where Ronaldo could sign when the January transfer window opens.
1. Back to Portugal
With retirement looming, a return to where it all started is Ronaldo’s best option.
Ronaldo started his professional career at Sporting Lisbon at 17 after rapidly moving up through their academy system. Ronaldo only spent one season playing in Portugal with Manchester United quickly signing him after recognizing his special talent.
Another key reason that Ronaldo could be heading back to Portugal, and maybe the most important, is that his mother Dolores Aveiro has made it known that her final wish is for her son to return to his boyhood team. By going back to Sporting, Ronaldo would still be able to compete in the UEFA Champions League and play against the best teams in Europe.
2. Saudi Arabia or Asia
Teams in Saudi Arabia have already expressed their interest in signing Ronaldo and with the amount of money available to them, they could easily cover his wage requirements. The same goes for teams in the Chinese Super League.
We have seen numerous big-name players go to play in China such as Hulk, Yannick Carrasco, and Oscar, while players such as James Rodriguez and Xavi have chosen to move to leagues in the Middle East. If he were to move to one of these leagues it would likely be for the monetary value as the leagues themselves do not compare to any of the European leagues Ronaldo has played in in the past.
A league that is growing surprisingly quickly is the MLS, the top league across the U.S. and Canada. Teams in the MLS, specifically Inter Miami, have attempted to draw Ronaldo across the pond. Inter Miami owner David Beckham tried to persuade Ronaldo to come to the MLS this past summer but was turned down.
There have been numerous European stars that have moved to the MLS in the latter stages of their careers, including Beckham, Thierry Henry, Andrea Pirlo, and Kaka, so it is not something that is out of the realm of possibility. Plus, who wouldn’t want to spend their time off relaxing on the beaches of Miami?
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