Cristiano Ronaldo is all set to leave Manchester United in January 2023 if the striker cannot win back his place in Erik ten Hag’s team, according to a report by ESPN. The 37-year-old warmed the bench during his team’s humiliating 6-3 defeat against Manchester City on Sunday. The star player has not started a Premier League game since the 4-0 defeat to Brentford in August.
Ronaldo was adamant to leave Old Trafford in the summer, and United are aware that he could look to move in January in a bid to find regular first-team football. UEFA rules would allow the Man Utd star to sign for a team in the Champions League in January and play in the knockout rounds in the new year despite having made two appearances for United in the Europa League this season.
According to sources, Ronaldo’s attitude to training and games has been exemplary since it became clear he would have to stay beyond the transfer deadline, but he is desperate to make the most of his last years at the top. He has scored just one goal in eight games this season and has fallen behind Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial in the pecking order.
Erik Ten Hag may not allow Ronaldo to leave
Ronaldo’s current contract at Manchester United ends next summer, although there remains an option to extend his stay until 2024. The situation, hence allows Ronaldo to talk to clubs over a free transfer next summer. However, the Portugal forward is not the only senior player at Manchester United whose contract ends next summer. David de Gea, Marcus Rashford, Luke Shaw, Fred and Diogo Dalot’s contracts are also set to run out next summer.
Manchester United manager ten Hag is aware of Ronaldo’s situation but would still be reluctant to let him leave in January. The Dutchman has already been told it is highly unlikely there will be money to spend until next summer, reducing the possibility that a replacement could be found for the Portuguese superstar. Both Rashford and Martial have already missed games through injury this season, and Ten Hag is wary of leaving himself short of options during a congested season.