Erik ten Hag final decision on Cristiano Ronaldo’s future at Man Utd ahead of summer window

Incoming Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has made a definitive decision over the future of the club’s superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

United confirmed the appointment of the Dutchman last month after the 52-year-old met with United bosses in March to talk about becoming their new manager on a permanent basis. The current Ajax coach has signed a contract until June 2025 with an option of a further year.

The Dutchman has impressed in Amsterdam but faces a huge task to transform the Old Trafford club’s failing fortunes with multiple important decisions in his first summer transfer window. Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Edinson Cavani will all be leaving the club as free agents this summer while the club will listen to offers for multiple other players, while the future of Ronaldo is also unclear.

Ronaldo sensationally returned to United last summer after 12 years away and penned a two-year deal at the club, with 12 months still left to run when Ten Hag arrives this summer. However, there has been speculation over the Portuguese superstar’s future beyond this campaign.

Now aged 37, Ronaldo inevitably has more physical limitations than earlier in his career and there have been suggestions that he would not be able to fit into the style of play under Ten Hag. However, a report in the Telegraph has now outlined that the Dutchman wants Ronaldo to be a part of his squad next season.

It is reported that Ten Hag has already been working on a plan as to how he can build his new side’s attack around the five-time Ballon d’Or winner and believes Ronaldo can play an integral part in United’s successes going forwards. He is however said to acknowledge that he will not be able to take part in every match and will need to accept that he will be rotated on occasions during a season.

Ronaldo has scored 24 goals in 37 games in all competitions this season and while there is an argument that he may restrict United’s potential attacking intensity and coherence – he also brings a remarkable goal return, winning mentality and ability to elevate the club’s ambitions. Coupled with United’s pressing concerns across multiple other areas of the squad, there is a consensus that they should try to persuade him to stay beyond this summer. However, United will not stand in the way of Ronaldo – their highest earner – should he inform the club that he wants to seek a fresh challenge elsewhere.

With a plethora of attacking players departing the club this summer – most notably Cavani – and the club willing to listen to offers for Anthony Martial, who will return to United this summer following an underwhelming loan stint at Sevilla, means that United will need to bolster their strike-force even if Ronaldo does stay at the club.

United have been linked with a move for Reims’ teenage striker Hugo Ekitike and are also reported to be in the running to land Benfica striker Darwin Nunez this summer. The Uruguayan international is expected to be one of Europe’s most sought-after strikers over the coming months after a sensational season in the Primeira Liga and Champions League.

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