Cristiano Ronaldo would be happy to accept a lower wage at another club if it means he can leave Manchester United in the upcoming January transfer window, according to reports. The 37-year-old is facing a highly uncertain future at Old Trafford after falling out with Erik ten Hag over his refusal to come on as a substitute during the club’s big win over Tottenham earlier this week.
Ronaldo was promptly dropped from the United squad that drew with Chelsea as a result of his decision to ignore Ten Hag’s orders, while he was also instructed to train with the club’s under-21 side in the days prior to the match at Stamford Bridge. It seems as though the five-time Ballon d’Or winner may have already played his final game for the Red Devils in spite of his contract being set to run until next summer, with the Portuguese forward ready to take a pay cut in order to accelerate his departure in January, according to Sunday World.
It is claimed that Ronaldo’s refusal to play against Tottenham has led United chiefs to decide that he will be shipped out when the transfer market reopens, with further talks over how to proceed set to be held within the next 48 hours. However, he is likely to be given the opportunity to extend his career in the Premier League in January with Chelsea, who remain interested in snapping him up after initially considering a move for his services over the summer.
Chelsea owner Todd Boehly was thought to have identified Ronaldo as a target during pre-season before the idea was vetoed by former manager Thomas Tuchel, although the American billionaire is still keen on bringing him to Stamford Bridge before the end of the current campaign. A six-month deal has been floated by those in power at Chelsea, while the option of a year-long extension would also be on the cards if all parties are happy to continue into the 2023/24 season.
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A decision on Ronaldo’s immediate future at United is set to be made as early as next week, with a possible termination of his contract among the range of options on the table. He has started just two Premier League matches for the Red Devils since the beginning of the campaign and has only managed to score two goals in all competitions, with one of those coming from the penalty spot against FC Sheriff back in September.
United legend Gary Neville insisted that Ronaldo’s time at the club is all but over in the aftermath of Saturday’s draw at Chelsea, who took the lead through a Jorginho penalty but were forced to share the spoils when Casemiro headed home in the dying seconds of the contest.
“This needs to end now,” declared Neville in his role as a pundit on Sky Sports. “There aren’t many Manchester United fans who would now have Ronaldo in their starting eleven.
“They are better without him, they score more goals without him and they win more points without him, Manchester United are a better team without him. For me, Erik ten Hag had no other option [but to drop him]. That’s the second time Ronaldo has left Old Trafford before his team-mates have got into the changing room. That is unacceptable.
“When you look at whether Ronaldo should be selected, which is obviously Ronaldo’s main problem at this moment in time – that he’s not playing – as great a player as he’s been, Manchester United are better without him.
“Erik ten Hag knows that, so I think the only thing the club and Ronaldo can do is get together in this next week or so and end the relationship. Cristiano is too good a player, too fantastic a character and the club have got to move on.”
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