It looks like Cristiano Ronaldo’s future has already been decided at Manchester United, with the wantaway star not expected to feature much in the playing XI for Erik ten Hag’s side this year. According to The Sun, a source has claimed that Ten Hag prefers Marcus Rashford as United’s main striker for the ongoing season. Also Ronaldo has lost the support of his teammates due to his lack of fitness. The source said, “As long as Ronaldo starts on the bench, the players have the confidence to express themselves. With Ronaldo on the pitch, the team feel pressured. All the players loved it when Ronaldo came back but they’re frustrated he missed pre-season. Ronaldo’s not up to speed and relies on instinct — but that doesn’t work in Ten Hag’s system.”
According to the report, the source also said, “The manager wants Marcus to be United’s No 1 striker and lead the line up front. He believes Marcus has the ability to become one of the world’s best and wants him to express himself in matches. He is always telling him to use his pace and skills when he gets a chance. He told Marcus he will easily score 20 this season. They have a great relationship and Marcus is really happy.”
Ten Hag has set a 20-goal target for the England international and he has already scored three goals, registered three assists. “Ten Hag told them, ‘This is the real United. We should be top, not Arsenal’. It is felt their only title threat is City and if they slip up, then they believe they can capitalise”, the source stated.
After United failed to secure Champions League qualification for this season, Ronaldo expressed his desire to leave. The Premier League outfit initially refused to sell him, but eventually allowed his departure. To make matters worse, the attacker failed to seal a move away from Old Trafford.
The 37-year-old has started only once from United’s six Premier League outings this season, with manager Erik ten Hag explaining that his fitness was the reason behind Ronaldo’s position in the bench. The Dutch coach said, “I will be his friend. Sometimes I will be his teacher. It depends on the situation. As we all know, he didn’t have the pre-season and you can not miss the pre-season, it’s a base. Especially the game we play, the way of play is not the type in comparison with last year.”
“It depends on the demands, co-operation and demands certain positioning, in and out of possession. And the other thing is fitness.”