Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has admitted Cristiano Ronaldo could remain at the club for the next couple of years.
The 37-year-old has one year remaining on the contract he signed when rejoining the club from Juventus in August last year and the Red Devils, like they do with most player contracts, hold the option to extend his deal by a further 12 months.
Ronaldo’s future at Old Trafford has been far from certain, however, after he requested that United consider any offers that come in for him this summer. Premier League rivals Chelsea have been linked, as have Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, but it’s looking increasingly unlikely that any of the trio will make a move.
United have always maintained, publicly at least, that they don’t want to sell Ronaldo and that’s a stance that new manager Erik ten Hag has stood behind since he was first questioned about the Portugal captain’s future at the club.
Now, with Ronaldo absent from United’s pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia, Ten Hag has said when asked about his future: “I am well informed, he also has an option [of another year].
“Yes [he could stay beyond next season]. Of course, I have signed here for three years but in football it’s short-term as well. We have to win from the start so I don’t look that far ahead.
“I have a strategy, it’s a process, it takes time but in the end we have to make sure from the outset there is a winning team.”
On whether or Ronaldo could fit in to his high-intensity style of play or not, Ten Hag assuringly replied: “I think Cristiano is capable of doing that. In his career, he has shown everything.
“I have set my demand. We want to play in a certain way. A top player can contribute and Ronaldo is an absolute top player in our squad. The players dictate the way you play. Especially players who score goals because they are extremely important for a team. You construct your team around them.”
Ten Hag further admitted he “cannot tell” when Ronaldo will resume training with United, while he also confirmed that he has doubts over his availability for the first game of the Premier League season.
Nevertheless, he added: “I think we all know Ronaldo is a top professional and he will be fit. That is the last concern I have.”