Manchester United fans are becoming aware today of the possibility that they may never see Cristiano Ronaldo play for the club again.
Reports continue to circulate that the Portuguese wants to move away from Old Trafford in January, with his first club Sporting Lisbon the latest potential place to be promoted.
Despite their summer reluctance, United are now believed to be willing to allow Ronaldo to leave if he finds a club.
The 37-year-old missed Thursday’s EFL Cup match against Aston Villa due to illness, leaving today’s Premier League clash as the only game remaining before the World Cup.
And despite manager Erik ten Hag saying there was a chance the striker might play, he didn’t get on the team bus to Craven Cottage, didn’t take part in training yesterday and doesn’t even appear to be in the UK.
On Friday, her mother, Dolores Aveiro, posted a photo of the couple together in what appears to be their home in Portugal, with the caption “Good weekend everyone.”
Taken together, these facts suggest that it would be a huge surprise if Ronaldo took part in today’s game.
After the World Cup, United have just two games before the January transfer window opens, an EFL Cup clash with Burnley on December 20 and a Premier League clash with Nottingham Forest on 27.
Unless Ronaldo was available for those two games, which could become increasingly unlikely if Portugal, as expected, progress to the latter stages of the Qatar competition, it seems likely that we have seen the big man’s last game with the United shirt.
That game was the away defeat against Aston Villa, in which Ronaldo, perhaps for that very reason and to honor him, was named team captain by Erik ten Hag.
If indeed that was his last game, United will be desperate to add a striker to the ranks early in the January window.
17-year-old Borussia Dortmund sensation Youssoufa Moukoko and 33-year-old Bayern Munich veteran Eric Choupo-Moting have been the subject of most recent transfer rumours.
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