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SOCCER

Is Cristiano Ronaldo staying at Manchester United?

Manchester have refused to sanction Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure and those clubs that were interested have not made any concrete moves.

Update:
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Old Trafford exit door appears closed
Michael ReganGetty

Cristiano Ronaldo informed Manchester United weeks ago of his desire to leave the club this summer, the Portuguese asking that the Old Trafford board put a price on him to facilitate a transfer. Chelsea, Bayern, Barcelona, Atlético and Napoli have all been credited with varying levels of interest in the Portugal captain over the past two months. However, United have proved unwilling to enter into negotiations over a transfer for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, considering him a key player in their sporting plan, but even more so in terms of the club’s economic framework. Meanwhile, the interest of the aforementioned clubs has been slowly evaporating for various reasons, making it increasingly likely that Ronaldo will remain at United, barring a major last-minute surprise.

Atlético had appeared to be in pole position to sign the former Real Madrid forward but a backlash among the club’s fans and Álvaro Morata’s preseason form have led the Rojiblanco board to shelve their attempt to sign Ronaldo, who had been green-lighted by Diego Simeone and was happy with the possibility of working under The Argentinean.

Reluctant Ronaldo will wait for a January opportunity

Given the panorama, Ronaldo is resigned to staying at Manchester United this season, at least until the winter window opens. Erik ten Hag knows that his star player will give his all and exercise professionalism even if he remains at Old Trafford reluctantly and the Dutch tactician has already made it clear that he will not tolerate any gesture that implies a lack of commitment, such as leaving the stadium before the end of a game, which happened during the friendly against Rayo Vallecano. “I certainly don’t condone this,” Ten Hag said about players leaving early. “This is unacceptable, for everyone. We are a team and you have to stay until the end.”

Cristiano will now go into the season in the full knowledge that United are not among the contenders to win the Premier League and without Champions League football, but with a focus on reaching the World Cup in prime condition as Portugal seek to add the only major title that eludes Ronaldo in what will surely be his final appearance on the grandest stage of them all. After the World Cup in Qatar, there is the possibility that a Champions League side could offer Ronaldo a deal in January to bolster a push for European glory. Anything can happen in the future, but for now Ronaldo looks destined to remain at Old Trafford.

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