Club legend Rooney says United must sell Ronaldo
Wayne Rooney believes it is the best course of action for his former club
New Manchester United coach Erik ten Hag can only build a successful team if the club lets Cristiano Ronaldo go according to Wayne Rooney.
Ronaldo rejoined United on a two-year deal for the second time in his career when leaving Juventus last summer.
Ahead of the 2022/2023 campaign, which for United gets underway with a visit from Brighton in the Premier League on Sunday, however, Ronaldo has asked his employers to listen to offers for him and is willing to leave in search of Champions League football.
Though the likes of Chelsea, Bayern Munich, and Paris Saint Germain have all turned him down, and United have insisted he should stay, the club's all-time top scorer Rooney believes that the Red Devils should honor his former teammate's wishes.
"I think United should let Cristiano Ronaldo go. It's not that Ronaldo can't play in a Ten Hag team. He can play in any team," claimed Rooney in a column for British newspaper The Times this weekend.
"Ronny will always score you goals. But my personal view is that United aren't ready to challenge for the title now, so the aim has to be to build a team that can win the league in the next three to four years, and you have to plan for that," he went on.
Now managing DC United in the US, Rooney is hopeful that former Ajax boss Ten Hag will be able to set a blueprint with the fading giants, who have not won England's top flight title since 2013 and are also without a trophy in half a decade.
"I couldn't work out what they were trying to do in terms of game plan, or see any patterns of play," Rooney said in reference to another disappointing season in 2021/2022.
"I think one of the big things you'll see from Ten Hag is him really trying to put his stamp on the playing identity," he also predicted.
After missing a preseason tour of Thailand and Australia while citing family issues accepted by the club, Ronaldo returned to United duty via a 1-1 friendly draw against Rayo Vallecano which he was criticized for leaving early last Sunday.
Now appearing more likely to stay with his current outfit than move on with the transfer window closing on September 1, Ronaldo posted that he was "ready" for the new season to his 474 million followers on Instagram on Saturday night.
An hour before kick-off against Brighton, however, Ten Hag showed that he didn't agree with this by benching Ronaldo for the tie, in a further indicator that the Dutchman believes his charge still isn't match fit after being absent for a number of training sessions and friendlies.
"Cristiano Ronaldo is working really hard to get in the right fitness levels, it will take time," the manager said after the line-up was announced, as relayed by BBC Sport.
"He started pre-season last week… so it depends on how quick he is progressing," Ten Hag added, as per when Ronaldo might expect to be a starter again.