Reunited with the Old Trafford faithful last season following gold-laden spells at Real Madrid, and then a tenure with Italian giants, Juventus, Portuguese forward, Cristiano Ronaldo is undoubtedly far from flavor of the month amongst Manchester United fans – as many call for his exit from the side.
Guiding the faltering Manchester side to a 5th place finish in last season’s Premier League campaign, Ronaldo would find the net on 24 separate occasions for the time – including 18 times in the league.
However, a year later, the 37-year-old star has scored just twice under 12 games since the summer appointment of Dutch tactician, Erik ten Hag.
Linked with a move from the Red Devils during the summer transfer window, potential moves to the likes of Chelsea, Sporting Lisbon, Napoli, and Athletico Madrid failed to materialise for the Portugal captain, as his place in a new, free-flowing and fluid front three under ten Hag was cast into doubt.
Missing a pre-season tour with United due to “personal family reasons”, Ronaldo’s place in the side was further put in jeopardy amid the form of French striker, Anthony Martial, as well as the signing of Brazilian starlet, Antony – who has already netted three times in five Premier League starts.
And earlier this week, tension between Ronaldo and former Ajax gold winner, ten Hag reached boiling point, with the former marching down the Old Trafford tunnel with just minutes remaining in United’s 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur.
Refusing to make a substitute appearance in the final minutes, Ronaldo was removed from the travelling side to take on Chelsea this weekend, demoted from first team training, and reportedly fined two weeks’ wages. With the recent complications with Ronaldo’s situation, Fuksiarz are offering decent odds on a departure from United in the January transfer window.
Rescuing a one-all draw with Graham Potter’s Chelsea side courtesy of a late header from Brazilian midfielder, Casemiro on Saturday, ten Hag featured a front three containing Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford, and the above-mentioned, Antony – as part of a fluid interchanging spearhead.
Netting just once in the league this season, Ronaldo scored a remarkable 700th career goal at Goodison Park against Everton, replacing an injured Anthony Martial in the opening half.
Played through by Casemiro, Ronaldo, playing on the shoulder of the last defender, held the line and slotted past Jordan Pickford with an expert left foot finish.
Receiving shrewd defense from former Manchester United captain and treble winner, Cork native, Roy Keane, Ronaldo has been revered for his goal-scoring prowess, and rightly so, however, in the modern era, and at the age of 37 amongst a fluid, interchanging front three – the Portugal favorite appears on the cusp of an era as a ‘super sub’ at the highest level.
If the Euro Championships victor and serial UEFA Champions League winner refuses to play a bit-part role in a United rebuild under ten Hag, it appears all but certain he’ll jet off on a permanent basis in January post-World Cup in Qatar – drawing an end to what promised to be a ceremonious red reunion.