Man United in 2021: Ronaldo's return, Ole out and Rangnick revolution
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Manchester United chief Richard Arnold is due to meet Cristiano Ronaldo for talks over the veteran’s future, according to reports. The Portugal international has impressed since returning from Juventus, scoring 14 goals across all competitions. However, with the club struggling to secure Champions League qualification, there’s a possibility he’ll leave at the end of the campaign.
Ronaldo was ready to join Manchester City in the summer, with Pep Guardiola eyeing the 36-year-old after missing out on Tottenham hitman Harry Kane.
However, United then swooped in with interventions from Sir Alex Ferguson, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and Bruno Fernandes helping the veteran return to Old Trafford.
Ronaldo returned to a United team who had won two of their opening three fixtures in the Premier League, against Leeds and Wolves respectively, under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
He instantly made up for lost time, bagging a brace on his second debut against Newcastle.
But, ever since, United have regressed as a team with the club now 21 points behind Manchester City at the top of the table.
Their chances of securing Champions League football next season are also hanging in the balance, with the club trailing West Ham by two points albeit having played one game less.
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And the Daily Star say United chief Arnold, who recently replaced Ed Woodward at the club, is set to hold talks with Ronaldo in the coming weeks.
The veteran is said to be ‘disillusioned’ with life at the Theatre of Dreams, having gone back to the Red Devils expecting to challenge for the biggest trophies on offer.
United are planning to tour the United States this summer for the first time since 2019, prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
They know Ronaldo is key to ensuring they make maximum profit from such a tour, with the Portugal international arguably the biggest athlete on the planet.
Therefore, Arnold is keen to resolve Ronaldo’s future as quickly as possible.
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He wants the former Real Madrid, Juventus and Sporting Lisbon star to stay at the club and see out his contract, which expires in 2023.
There is, however, no guarantee that will happen. Especially with Ronaldo recently insisting he didn’t come back to fight for Europa League football.
In an interview with Sky Sports, the stalwart said: “Manchester United should win the league or be second or third.
“I don’t see any other position for Manchester United.
“In my heart, I don’t accept that our mentality be less than being in the top three in the Premier League, in my opinion.
“I think to build up good things sometimes you have to destroy a few things.
“New year, new life, I hope that Manchester can be at the level people want, especially the fans. We are capable of changing things now.
“We can do it better, all of us. I don’t want to be here in the club to fight to be in sixth or seventh place.
“I am here to try to win, to compete. I believe if we change our mind we can achieve big things.”
Ronaldo’s temper recently boiled over, with the Portugal international stropping after coming off in Wednesday night’s 3-1 win over Brentford.
Yet Ralf Rangnick defended the forward for his actions following the contest at the Community Stadium, with the German saying: “He [Ronaldo] said ‘Why me, why did you take me off?’ I said I had to make the decision for the team, for the club.
“Maybe in a few years, when he is a coach, he will understand. I didn’t expect him to hug me after being subbed.
“I know how goal-scoring players think and how they tick, but I have to make my decisions in the interest of the team. I have no issue whatsoever with Cristiano.
“I told him [Ronaldo] we were 2-0 up, and we have to learn lessons from Villa Park. After that game, I was angry with myself for not changing to a back five.
“Today was exactly the same situation, 2-0 with 15 left and I did not want to make the same mistake again.”
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