As Manchester United drew 2-2 against Aston Villa in their final pre-season tour game in Australia, Cristiano Ronaldo posted a cryptic tweet, working out in a United shorts.
Speculation is rife over the veteran’s future at the club, where his contract runs for one more season. He and his team are reportedly trying to find a new club that is in the Champions League, while United have been relegated to the Europa League on the heels of a wretched season.
Whether Ronaldo put out the picture to curry favour United manager Erik ten Hag and the club fans is subject to interpretations.
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) July 23, 2022
This, though, comes at a time when reported overtures made by Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes have been met with rejections. United, on the other hand, insist that the 37-year-old is not for sale. Ten Hag, too, has spoken about having Ronaldo in his plans for the upcoming season.
“We are planning with Ronaldo for this season; that’s it. I’m looking forward to working with him,” ten Hag told reporters the other day, adding: “He hasn’t told me this (he’s leaving). I have read, but as I say, Cristiano is not for sale, he’s in our plans and we want to get success together.”
That said, Ronaldo didn’t join United’s training, citing personal reasons, nor did he go to United’s pre-season tour to Thailand and Australia. On Saturday, in Perth, Ten Hag dropped a clear hint that Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Jadon Sancho would be his front three, when United start their Premier League campaign on August 7 against Brighton. As the pre-season tour suggested, the three have developed a fine understanding between them, and Ronaldo, even if he returns, might have to bide his time.