Man Utd stars revealed to have lingering Ronaldo gripe, as dressing room sense new plan brewing

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Cristiano Ronaldo, September 2022 Credit: PA Images
Cristiano Ronaldo, September 2022 Credit: PA Images

The Manchester United dressing room reportedly think Cristiano Ronaldo has not finished trying to leave Old Trafford – and will do so again in January.

The 37-year-old wanted out this summer following the Red Devils’ departure from the Champions League. Several teams had links with a swoop, but none of them took up the opportunity.

Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Napoli – the latter at the end of the transfer window – all walked away from a transfer.

Ronaldo has since struggled for game time under manager Erik ten Hag. He has only started one Premier League game this term, with Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Antony starring up front instead.

The Portugal star’s contract expires in the summer, although Man Utd have a one-year option on him.

According to The Sun, however, Ronaldo’s team-mates still believe he is hell-bent on getting a move away. And he has his sights set on a January exit.

A source also told the newspaper that the United squad have not got over him missing pre-season this summer.

“All the players loved it when Ronaldo came back to United last season but they are frustrated he missed pre-season,” the source said.

“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.”

Penny needs to drop for Ronaldo

Ronaldo may have featured in all six of United’s Premier League games this season. However, his lack of starts and goals is a world away from what he has been used to in his career.

Nevertheless, the source added to The Sun that Ronaldo just needs to realise that working with Ten Hag’s methods can allow him to make more of an impact.

“Ten Hag and the rest of the players really rate Ronaldo,” the insider said.

“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.”

Man Utd man in strange position

This is the first time in Ronaldo’s career that he has not been centre stage scoring regular goals and leading his team to silverware.

He was a centrepiece of a good portion of Sir Alex Ferguson’s title-winning team. Then, at Real Madrid, he won five Champions League titles and a host of other winners’ medals.

Last season, Ronaldo scored 24 goals in 38 games after his return to Old Trafford. While the Red Devils did not win any trophies, Ronaldo stood out for his goals and winning the team points.

Now, though, that momentum has completely stopped and he is not even getting regular game time – let alone goals.

Coming back to Man Utd looked a risk given how the club currently compare to their Premier League rivals.

His struggles this season will by no means go on to be a stain on his career. Still, they are becoming a credible footnote as his tough spell continues.

Ten Hag knows the value of having a deadly goalscorer in his team who is ready to make an impact.

On the flipside, the manager has found a nice middle ground by investing in younger players such as Antony, Rashford and Sancho.

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