sport news Who can really afford Ronaldo? Project has failed but icon may not get his wish ... trends now
However, the next bit of the equation is a bit trickier. Who will actually want him on wages of £15million a year? Even if United subsidise that, there aren’t many clubs in the world that Ronaldo would consider acceptable who can afford a 37-year-old vanity project.
And despite the fact the return to Old Trafford has been a thoroughly unhappy reunion, how can new United manager Erik ten Hag actually afford to let him go? He has no world-class centre forwards on which to count and little prospect of signing one.
Cristiano Ronaldo has requested that Manchester United let him leave this summer should the club receive a suitable offer
A well sourced report yesterday delivered the news that confirmed what everyone with eyes could see: the grand project to bring him home to United has been a failure.
Don’t go back is a maxim for a reason. Signed for around £20m last season on wages of around £500,000 a week, it always felt like this was just an ego trip for outgoing chief executive Ed Woodward, who had always longed to bring back the United icon, maybe as a way of counteracting the hostility he has been subjected to from fans.
And though it always seemed an ill-conceived idea, Ronaldo has done his best to defy gravity and make it work. In the worst Manchester United side in living memory for anyone under the age of 40, Ronaldo did score 24 goals, easily their top scorer, 18 of them in the Premier League.
The Portugal international believes he still has 'three or four years' left at the highest level
There were even two glorious hat-tricks, against Tottenham and Norwich in March and April. But by then United were already a shambles, falling out of serious contention. In the crucial winter months of November, December, January and February, Ronaldo scored just five Premier League goals.
All of which places Ten Hag in a quandary. He knows that senior people at United had already concluded Ronaldo’s return had been a mistake, even before Ralf Rangnick arrived as manager. Under the German, the situation deteriorated with the coach completely unconvinced Ronaldo could cope with the demands of his pressing system and yet unwilling to drop him. On one of the few occasions that he did tell Ronaldo that he was trying someone else, for the derby against Manchester City in April, Ronaldo decided to fly to Portugal for the weekend to treat a hip flexor issue.
Ronaldo and Rangnick were at odds as to how training was best conducted and some players found the