Cristiano Ronaldo has stunned Manchester United by asking to leave the club this summer after reportedly handing in a transfer request.
The Portuguese superstar has made it clear he wants to end his second spell at Old Trafford and has asked the Red Devils to consider offers from interest clubs in the current transfer window, within a year of joining the club again for £ 12 million from Juventus.
According to The Times, the 37-year-old believes he has three or four years left at the highest level and is keen to spend them at a club where he is capable of adding to his glittering collection of trophies and individual honours.
The report adds that sources close to Ronaldo say he maintains respect for the club and its fans, wanting to be replaced for sporting and personal reasons. Understandably, Ronaldo and his family have been through a harrowing ordeal following the death of their baby son in April.
Cristiano Ronaldo was one of the key players in a season that was somewhat disappointing for the Red Devils, scoring 24 goals in all competitions and 18 in the Premier League. United finished in sixth place after sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November, while Rangnick took over the reins until the end of the campaign.
But Manchester United have failed to secure a place in the top four that could defend UEFA Champions League football next season, sparking speculation that Ronaldo may be looking to continue. The world’s top scorer is determined to play at a high level and United’s relegation from second to sixth place paints a grim picture.
It cast a dark shadow in the first month of Erik ten Hag in charge of the club after following Ralf Rangnick, putting the Dutch summer plans in jeopardy. The 52-year-old made it clear at his first press conference that he valued Ronaldo as an integral part of his team next season.
But the obvious desire of the United star to come out is holding the spotlight on the work of Ten Hag, who has seen Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, and Nemanja Matic head out. Losing a Ronaldo-level player, with the exception of a replacement, means United could be forced into the market to find a replacement.
Bayern Munich are thought to be one of the clubs interested in signing Ronaldo, and Bavarian midfielder Robert Lewandowski is set to join Barcelona this summer. And in June, reports suggested that Chelsea owner Todd Boehly was keen to look into the possibility of signing Ronaldo to an exciting deal before United issued a warning.