12 years on from his record-breaking move to Real Madrid, Ronaldo made his glorious return to Manchester United in August 2021. Since then, he has been the subject of much debate.
As an individual, the Portuguese has done well. He was the Premier League’s third-top scorer last season, and was by far Utd’s leading marksman with 24 in all competitions. However, some theorised that his presence was harming those around him, and that they would be a better team without him.
Ronaldo pursued a move away from Old Trafford during the summer, hoping to play in the Champions League. But no suitable bids arrived, and he stayed put.
The new campaign has been a frustrating one for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner. He has started just twice in the league, while being left out of the starting XI in fixtures against Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, and Tottenham Hotspur.
In the latter, he refused to come on as a substitute late on, and was later seen walking down the tunnel before the final whistle. Manager Erik ten Hag responded to this by excluding him from the squad for the 1-1 draw against Chelsea.
This might be the last straw, with reports suggesting that Man Utd are now willing to let him go in January. According to The Daily Mail, Chelsea owner Todd Boehly remains interested in bringing him to Stamford Bridge.
The American apparently wanted him during the summer transfer window, but then-manager Thomas Tuchel was opposed to the deal. Tuchel has since been sacked, and it remains to be seen whether new boss Graham Potter would approve of the signing.
The south-west Londoners have had issues in front of goal. They have netted on 16 occasions in the league from 11 games – the second-fewest inside the top half. Furthermore, top scorer Raheem Sterling has just three.
Another striker would be welcome at Stamford Bridge. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Armando Broja are their only natural options up front, while Kai Havertz has filled in there.
However, Man Utd may be reluctant to let Ronaldo go for similar reasons. Marcus Rashford has been their main forward this term, but he is arguably better off the left. Meanwhile, their only other senior option is Anthony Martial, who has missed several games already with injuries.
Ten Hag has maintained that he would like Ronaldo to stay for the remainder of the season. He is expected to come back into the squad for the upcoming Europa League fixture against Sheriff Tiraspol.
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