Throughout the course of the summer, one of the biggest stories surrounding Manchester United was regarding the future of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese star did not take part in pre-season and most rumours suggested that he wanted to leave in order to continue playing in the Champions League. He was even linked with clubs like Chelsea, PSG, Napoli, Bayern Munich,, Sporting CP and a shock return to Real Madrid.
Ultimately, none of that transpired as it looks like there was not a lot of interest in Ronaldo this summer, with him being 37 years of age and failing to impress for the past few years now.
At the moment, he seems to be struggling to get into the Manchester United starting XI. Ronaldo has started only one game this season and that ended in a 4-0 defeat for the Red Devils at the hands of Brentford.
Erik ten Hag has managed to steady the ship since then though and Manchester United have won four on the trot. As a result, the Dutch manager now has the ability to leave Ronaldo on the bench without the media raising questions about his tactics.
Ten Hag makes honest Ronaldo claim as Manchester United go on winning run
As reported by 90min, while speaking about Ronaldo, Ten Hag said:
"“I will be his friend and sometimes I will be his teacher.“It depends on the situation. As we all know he didn’t have the pre-season and you cannot miss the pre-season.“It is a base and especially in the game we play, the way of play. We play another type compared to last year. It depends on the demands, cooperation and certain positioning, in and out of position, and the other thing is fitness.”"
Thus, the fact that Ronaldo did not have a pre-season this time around might be the major reason why he is not being included in the starting XI at the moment.
But at the same time though, one has to wonder whether at 37 years of age, he is even capable of playing this style of football anymore.
According to stats from Transfermarkt, Ronaldo has not scored or assisted in 6 appearances this season till now.
As long as Manchester United continue winning, Ten Hag will have all the liberty in the world to drop Ronaldo. It is when the Red Devils start to drop points that questions will be raised though.