In that spectacular summer of transfers that has entertained us for so long with the Robert Lewandowski saga, Cristiano Ronaldo falls dramatically. He's no longer popular. His future is uncertain. His current coach is diplomatic at best.
Nobody wants Cristiano Ronaldo. As a reader of ntv.de, you have of course known this for a long time. It's dramatic. What was once the best player in the world (alongside Lionel Messi, but that's not the point here) is too expensive, too outdated and too much what they call a 'one trick pony'. There is no longer a market for him.
Sure, there's a club in Saudi Arabia that is said to have recently made him a huge offer with an annual salary of 125 million euros. The offer was valid for two seasons. But Ronaldo apparently politely declined. He wants to attack again in the Champions League. The league he once dominated with Real Madrid that brought him so much fame. The problem: There is nothing left at the top-top-top level where the Portuguese used to be.
Bayern boss Oliver Kahn recently moderated the rumors about Ronaldo. "I love Cristiano Ronaldo and everyone knows what a fantastic player he is. But every club has a certain philosophy and I'm not sure if it would be the right signal for Bayern and the Bundesliga if we let him now would get," said Kahn. "Such a change does not necessarily fit with the ideas that we are pursuing here at Bayern." Similar tones were also to be taken from Chelsea FC and Paris Saint-Germain. Sometimes officially, sometimes through the flower in reports from journalists close to the club. What now Cristiano Ronaldo?
Due to this standstill, which seems as hopeless as the renovation backlog at Deutsche Bahn, it is hardly surprising that the new Manchester United coach, Erik ten Hag, has now assured that the Red Devils are planning to continue with the 37-year-old. What else is he supposed to do? Ronaldo has a contract until 2023, makes good money and is still quite accurate. Last year he scored 24 goals, critically eyed by everyone and also questioned by the German interim coach Ralf Rangnick.
What is surprising, however, is that Ten Hag does not even want to rule out Ronaldo staying at United for a longer period of time. "I am informed that he also has an option [for another year in Manchester, editor's note]," he told US broadcaster ESPN during the former giant's current Asia and Australia trip takes place without the superstar. He had canceled the trip with reference to family obligations.
Ronaldo, the new coach added, could even start the first game of the season against Brighton on August 7. "We all know what a top professional he is. He'll be fit, that's the least of my worries," said ten Hag, even attesting to the aging superstar's ability to keep up with the former Ajax coach's high pressing. "I think Cristiano can do that. He's shown it all in his career. I have my ideas. We want to play a certain way. A top player can help and Ronaldo is an absolute top player in our squad."
But opinions are divided on the question of whether the 37-year-old is still an absolute top player. The Dutch coach is probably only diplomatic.