Cristiano Ronaldo told he’s stuck at Man Utd even if he wants transfer exit this summer

Messi world's highest paid athlete with Ronaldo also featuring in Top 10

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Cristiano Ronaldo would not be able to leave Manchester United even if the club wanted him to this summer, according to Portuguese football expert Pedro Sepulveda. The veteran forward takes up a huge amount of room on the Red Devils’ wage bill, but Erik ten Hag may effectively be forced to work him into his first-team plans over the next campaign. 

Going by the Dutchman’s early words as Man Utd boss, keeping Ronaldo at Old Trafford will not be done through gritted teeth. Ten Hag referred to him as ‘a giant’, adding that he has been an important player that can produce great stats since returning to the club. 

But the Red Devils have been heavily linked with Benfica striker Darwin Nunez, whose arrival would surely put Ronaldo’s starting spot in jeopardy. Liverpool are seemingly in pole position to land the 22-year-old regardless, but the intent seems to be there, and Ronaldo may be stuck in Manchester even if he is effectively dropped down the pecking order. 

“For sure he is going to stay at Manchester United because nobody will pay for Cristiano Ronaldo,” Sepulveda told Sky Sports. “I’m not saying he’s not worth the money, but the thing is, when you look at the possibilities, which team could Ronaldo play for if it’s not Man Utd? 

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“I’m 100 per cent sure that, after his return to Man Utd, he will never play for another English team. Elsewhere you have Real Madrid, and I don’t think Florentino Perez wants a Ronaldo return. You look at PSG with another coach and another sporting director, I don’t really think they will sign Ronaldo as part of their new project.”

As such, United could be left with a mightily expensive bench-warmer given that Ronaldo’s two-year contract supposedly lands him around £500,000-a-week. The Red Devils are reportedly set to call a meeting with Nunez’s agent, Jorge Mendes, in an effort to hijack Liverpool’s deal, but even if they miss out there are still other targets that could see Ronaldo relegated to a back-up option. 

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Ronaldo put up impressive numbers last campaign with 18 Premier League goals and three assists, but questions remain over how he will gel with Ten Hag’s philosophy due to his age and play style. Recent interviews from both suggest that the striker will be given plenty of chances to put that school of thought to bed, and he will hope that it is in a more harmonious environment than last season. 

While Real Madrid and PSG’s apparent reluctance to swoop for Ronaldo leaves his hands tied in any case, the player has publicly expressed excitement to continue working with the Red Devils and under Ten Hag. What happens next summer when his lucrative contract expires remains a topic of debate that will only accelerate over time. 

“What I know about [Ten Hag] is he did a fantastic job for Ajax, that he’s an experienced coach, but we need to give him time,” explained Ronaldo. “Things need to change the way he wants.

“I hope we have success, of course, because, if you have success, all of Manchester is going to have success as well. I wish him the best.”

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