Cristiano Ronaldo could be forced to honor the remainder of his contract at Manchester United despite his desire to leave if he fails to qualify for the Champions League next season, according to reports. The 37-year-old joined the Red Devils on a two-year deal at the start of the campaign but already appears to be facing an uncertain future at Old Trafford ahead of next season.
Ronaldo is reportedly ready to leave United if he fails to crack the top four in the next few months.
Club chiefs have promised not to stand in the way of him should he decide to end his second spell at Old Trafford this summer, according to the Mirror.
United are said to have come to regret their decision to re-sign Ronaldo, with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner failing to live up to expectations this season.
The move is believed to have been driven primarily by commercial factors and the determination to stop him joining Manchester City in August last year.
The reigning Premier League champions have explored the possibility of bringing Ronaldo to the Etihad Stadium before United make a late move to clinch his signature.
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However, the Portuguese striker hopes the United hierarchy will keep their word if they fail to secure Champions League football before next season.
The report also claims there is no clause in his contract that would allow him to be released if the club finish outside the Premier League top four.
This could potentially lead to a sticky situation in the event United opt for a change of heart when the transfer market reopens this summer.
Ronaldo is said to be adamant that he remains more than capable of playing Champions League football and would not expect to stay at Old Trafford if he fails to book a place for next season’s tournament.
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United would save at least a large sum of money by offloading Ronaldo this summer, with the former Real Madrid and Juventus man agreeing to a weekly wage in excess of £400,000 at the start of the season.
The Juventus deal also included around £8million in add-ons, but United’s recent struggles on the pitch mean the vast majority of those won’t be triggered.
It remains to be seen whether he will decide to stay at the club or push to move elsewhere once all is said and done at the end of the campaign.
Former England striker Carlton Cole recently insisted Ronaldo was part of the problem at United and should take the same level of responsibility as the rest of the squad for their lackluster performance on the pitch.
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“He came in and took all the attention away from what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was doing,” Cole told talkSPORT earlier this month.
“I’m not saying he’s not going to score you goals, he scores a sack of goals, but was he the right thing for Man United? Was he the right thing for this team?
“The evidence shows, and not just from tonight, but considering everything that has happened since he arrived, Man United still haven’t taken it to the next level.
“I’m not saying it’s just Ronaldo’s fault. A lot has happened but he’s also part of the problem.”
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