Cristiano Ronaldo may have to accept a limited role if he wants to stay at Manchester United next season, according to Gary Neville, who believes his chances of departing are “50-50.”
Last August, the Portuguese legend returned to United after leaving Juventus, and some hoped he would be the final piece in their puzzle. United, on the other hand, have failed to win a trophy and are now in fifth place in the Premier League, despite Ronaldo’s 18 goals in all competitions.
And Neville, who played alongside Ronaldo at United, believes his old teammate’s future at Old Trafford is contingent on the club’s next management decision as well as his willingness to tolerate a lack of continuous game time. Ralf Rangnick, the interim boss, will begin a two-year consulting role this summer.
When asked about Ronaldo’s future, Neville said Sky Sports, “I’m unsure; it depends who the manager is and what the new manager’s project is.
“Does he want to assemble a young, athletic, and progressive team?” Ronaldo can play in that, but if he wants to play every week, which appears to be the case, then the manager may want a fresh start.
“He might be looking for young players that can press high from the front and create a high quality of play in that manner.” Yes, there will be a position for him if he wants to play in a different fashion and is willing to accept that he will have a fantastic goalscorer in the team who is basically the greatest goalscorer of all time.
“However, I believe it would have to be a Ronaldo who would understand that he would not play every week and that there would be times when he would not play, and I believe that is the most important thing.” He doesn’t seem to mind, which is a good thing because he’s clearly motivated and wants to play every single match.
“However, I’m split 50/50.” And I’m not just split on whether the club wants to keep Cristiano, but also on whether he wants to stay in Manchester and play at the club until his 38th and 39th years.”
World Cup winner Frank Leboeuf urged Ronaldo to contemplate retirement last month. “Do you know what?” said the Frenchman. I believe there comes a period when you must ask yourself, “What do I want to do with my life and my career?”
“Perhaps it’s time for Cristiano Ronaldo, towards the conclusion of his career, to ponder and discuss with himself, and perhaps certain members of his family, what he needs to do for the rest of his career, if there is one.”
“I don’t want to look at Ronaldo and feel sorry for him because he’s been at the top for so long.” I don’t want him to play like everyone else. He’s been a great player for a long time. I’d rather he gave up his position at the top.”