Cristiano Ronaldo’s future at Manchester United remains up in the air. The 37-year-old asked to leave the club earlier this summer and he is yet to return for pre-season training.
The Premier League curtain-raiser against Brighton is less than three weeks away and there is little to suggest that Ronaldo will be in the squad for that game.
Piers Morgan, the TV personality and outspoken Arsenal supporter, has now claimed that he has been in contact with Ronaldo recently and admitted that he would be surprised if the Portugal international featured for the Reds again.
The former Good Morning Britain host argues that Ronaldo has already moved on mentally this summer, making a return to first-team relations difficult.
“I have had quite a lot of contact in the last week. I certainly think it’d be highly unlikely if Cristiano Ronaldo plays another game for Manchester United,” Morgan told talkSPORT.
“I just think mentally he’s moved on. I’m not going to say what we’ve said to each other but like I said from the start I don’t think Cristiano feels Manchester United share his ambitions.
“I think he feels that the signings they’re making, the commitment they showed last season, where they finished up and a lack of Champions League football.
“If you’re him and coming towards the end of your career and you still want to win major trophies you’ve got to make a calculation. Am I going to do it if I stay at United?
“I think he feels the club structure from the top down isn’t right. It’s not a reflection on the new manager [Erik ten Hag], he’s got a lot of respect for him, but it’s just an accurate reflection of where United are right now.
“It’s for him to say what he feels but if you’re asking me then I don’t think he’s going to stay at Manchester United. I think he could end up somewhere quite surprising.”
Morgan is hardly known for his cutting-edge opinions but an exit for Ronaldo does feel inevitable at this point. The only caveat is that as of now, there doesn’t seem to be a queue of clubs lining up to sign him.
Ronaldo’s wages are among the highest in the world and at 37, not many clubs are willing to make that financial commitment. Chelsea have already pulled out of a deal and a move to Bayern Munich has been ruled out by Bavarian officials.
Ten Hag would find a way to integrate him if he changes his mind but you have to wonder if bridges have already been burned with Ronaldo’s own supporters.