Cristiano Ronaldo staying one more year is suddenly a hard sell to Manchester United fans: The Treble colum

The Treble column: June 5A Ronaldo special

Cristiano Ronaldo staying one more year is suddenly a hard sell to Manchester United fans

Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United has been a rollercoaster experience. There have been some real highs, including 24 goals, comprising of back to back Old Trafford hat-tricks, and some memorable last minute winners.

These special moments have meant supporters can try and parse his contribution from the fact United have got worse since he returned. It’s not his fault the team conceded an awful 58 league goals last season.

One thing we do know, and have always known since Ronaldo returned, is that his second stint at United was only a short-term solution.

Amid Ronaldo’s reported desire to leave United, there isn’t so much a desperate plea for him to stay, with supporters fully understanding his reasoning, wanting to play in a more competitive team, so long as this is a switch abroad.

He did not return for pre-season on Monday, and The Athletic report United do not know if he will return in time for pre-season tour.

His departure would simply speed up United’s process of change. Erik ten Hag can set about finding a replacement for Ronaldo right now, rather than in 12 months time.

So if Ronaldo was to suddenly decide to stay, it become a tough one to now accept. Keeping a player who wants to leave is never easy, and a recipe for turmoil behind the scenes. Multiply this by 1,000 when the player is Cristiano Ronaldo.

Keeping Ronaldo another year will simply be delaying the inevitable. United need to build a team without him, long-term. So why not just get it over with, and rip the plaster off now.

Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Ronaldo timing is better now than even later

Ronaldo dropped this bombshell on United at the weekend, with The Times reporting his desire to leave. This came just one week before the club depart for pre-season.

Clearly this could have been communicated to United a lot earlier, and would have been very helpful if it was.

But there is still plenty of time to resolve this, a full two months. The transfer window is open until September 1.

Ronaldo left it far later to force his exit from Juventus one year ago. This saga only played itself out in the final two weeks of August.

This would have been the nightmare scenario for United, for Ronaldo to spend time training under Erik ten Hag, wasting the manager and his coaching staff’s time, before signalling his desire to exit.

Photo by Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images

Mysterious kit delay likely linked to Ronaldo bombshell

One department cursing Ronaldo’s potential exit will be Manchester United’s commercial team, who were thrilled to see the iconic number 7 return last year.

United’s new kit for 2022/23 was set to be released on Friday. It has now been delayed until this Friday.

News of Ronaldo’s desired exit leaking to the media just 24 hours later was no coincidence.

Ronaldo shirts would have sold by the bucketload, and United would have been faced with the nightmare scenario of having to refund them all, if he was sold quickly after.

Now, anybody who purchases a Ronaldo 7 shirt for 2022/23 has been forewarned.

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