Ronaldo appears surplus to requirements under Erik ten Hag, having been selected to start only one out of seven Premier League games this season.
He has scored just one goal, a penalty against Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League.
Now with Anthony Martial returning to fitness, Ronaldo risks falling further down Ten Hag’s pecking order.
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Ronaldo told he can leave
The Telegraph report Ronaldo has been told he can leave and Ten Hag ‘will not stand in his way if a good offer comes in’.
What exactly a ‘good offer’ constitutes remains to be seen, but is is expected to be one which would involve a sale, rather than a loan with United paying any of his wages.
Ronaldo is United’s highest earner, and it makes little sense to have a high-cost asset sitting on the bench most weeks.
The forward is keen to leave although the report notes he has been ‘highly professional’ behind the scenes.
Ronaldo did not go on pre-season tour and his agent Jorge Mendes attempted to secure him a summer move, but there were no buyers.
This could change in January, and Ronaldo would not be cup-tied for the Champions League due to his Europa League involvement.
The 37-year-old’s contract at United does end in June, but the cost of keeping him until then is a distraction when he is sitting on the bench, and this is dominating pre-and post-match comment.
With it being an open secret now that Ronaldo can leave in January, this situation will have to be managed carefully by United and Ten Hag in the coming weeks.
The season breaks in November for the World Cup, so potentially Ronaldo could have a swansong over the next few weeks, before he puts himself in the shop window in Qatar.