Man Utd's pre-season schedule as Red Devils head for Australia
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Cristiano Ronaldo feels the standards at Manchester United have dropped and that young players aren’t willing to take on advice, according to reports. The Portugal international is pushing to leave Old Trafford this summer. And all signs point to him getting his wish, despite the Red Devils publicly saying their No 7 isn’t for sale.
Ronaldo wants to leave United after less than a year back at Old Trafford.
When he returned from Juventus last August, many were expecting the Red Devils to challenge for the biggest trophies. Instead, however, they endured a horrendous campaign under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick – finishing sixth in the Premier League table.
Ronaldo wants to leave for a team playing in the Champions League, having won the tournament five times over the course of his stunning career so far.
And The Sun say he’s had two major problems with United ever since his blockbuster return 11 months ago.
The first is that he feels standards at the club have dropped.
In his maiden spell at United, Sir Alex Ferguson ruled with an iron first – helping morph Ronaldo into the superstar he is today.
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The Portugal international joined a dressing room full of leaders in 2003, ranging from Roy Keane to Gary Neville, Ruud van Nistelrooy to Rio Ferdinand.
And United were successful, claiming three league titles on the spin as well as the Champions League in 2008 – when Chelsea were beaten in the final.
Ronaldo has joined a completely different club to the one he left behind, though.
The Red Devils have now gone five years without a trophy, with their last prize coming back in 2017 – when Jose Mourinho ruled the roost.
And winning silverware isn’t going to get any easier, especially given Manchester City and Liverpool has strengthened their respective sides with the arrivals of Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez.
A second complaint Ronaldo has is that United’s younger players don’t take on board advice.
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He suggested this was an issue in an interview back in January, when he said: “The mature players, the older players can always help the young players.
“But, I can give you an example, if I give you advice, even if you are younger than me and if you don’t implant that in a daily life it will be difficult.
“You can speak all day with that person. If he’s not coming from inside of you it’s impossible. I remember when I was 18, 19, 20, some old players speak with me and I put that as, ‘Cristiano, you know you have to improve. They know more than you, they are more experienced than you’. They passed through many bad moments.
“But the other people (youngsters), they don’t accept that if you criticise them.
“I don’t say this in relation to our players but in general. I have kids, I know.
“Sometimes when you’re a little bit harder, they do the opposite, you have to find the right balance to speak with them.”
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United, if they do jettison Ronaldo, could build around their younger players.
And it could also enable Anthony Martial to start more games, with the France international facing a big year ahead.
Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Barcelona have all been linked with Ronaldo amid uncertainty over his future at Old Trafford.
And where he ends up remains to be seen.
The report adds United are close to signing Christian Eriksen, who is expected to join the rest of the squad on the second leg of their pre-season tour in Australia.
And they remain confident of landing Frenkie de Jong, despite Barcelona insisting the Netherlands international isn’t for sale.
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Regarding Ronaldo, meanwhile, Rio Ferdinand has offered support to his former team-mate and sympathises with his current position.
“Anyone who wants to win football matches or trophies, anyone who is used to winning and competing every year at the top of the table for the biggest prizes, and then all of a sudden isn’t – and doesn’t even qualify for the Champions League – you can’t sit here and expect them to be happy,” he said.
“He’s not happy with missing out on the Champions League, he doesn’t even know what the Europa League soundtrack sounds like!
“When that comes on, he’s going to be thinking ‘what dance am I in here?’”
And he added: “I’ve been seeing people being a touch disrespectful, the way that people are questioning ‘he’s not here’ and the hysteria surrounding it.
“A member of his family is not well, so he’s not at training.
“This is the most consummate, most professional athlete that we’ve seen on these shores. The most professional athlete we’ve seen for over 15 years and people are questioning this guy’s professionalism and why he’s not at the training ground.”
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