What are Cristiano Ronaldo’s options? Man United forward has a big call to make on his future.
What are Cristiano Ronaldo’s options? Man United forward has a big call to make on his future. Ronaldo says he’s not going anywhere — not yet anyway.
Manchester United’s 37-year-old striker, who will represent Portugal at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar beginning in November, will also be looking ahead to the 2024 European Championship, which will be held in Germany.
“I would like to convey that my trip is not over yet,” he stated last week. “I continue to be inspired, and my goals remain lofty.
I’d love to participate in the World Cup and the European Championship. I’m going to presume that without more investigation.”
By the time the 2024–2025 season concludes, Ronaldo will be 39 years old and have played in the Premier League for 22 years.
There is little doubt about his dedication to fitness and health; he has played in roughly 50 games every season for club and nation since he was a teenager. However, the direction of his club career is still up for debate.
He wanted to stay at the highest level as long as possible. Therefore, he quit Manchester United in the summer, searching for more Champions League action. A transfer didn’t happen. Therefore, he’s still with Old Trafford for the time being, but his future in football is uncertain.
Option 1: He leaves Man United in January
The summer’s biggest disappointment for Ronaldo was that Manchester United did not qualify for the Champions League.
He wanted to finish his career playing in the tournament in which he has scored more goals than any other player. Earlier this month, his Europa League debut against Real Sociedad came after failed flirtations with Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Napoli, and Atletico Madrid, among others.
The problem for Ronaldo is that he no longer plays regularly and is therefore not eligible to compete in the Champions League.
He has only started one Premier League game this season, and it seems unlikely that he will start the derby against Premier League champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on October 2 if either Marcus Rashford or Anthony Martial are deemed fit to play.
Ronaldo may look to leave in January because of the lack of consistent playing time. In theory, he could join a team that has advanced to the final stages of the Champions League and get another shot at adding to his five championships.
However, he could switch teams in January if United were to release him. The club has already distanced itself from making any major acquisitions in the next window, leaving Erik ten Hag with little choices at center forward.
Option 2: He leaves Man United next summer
This would be a more natural break and allow Ronaldo to choose the club that will best help him achieve his ambitions, win titles, and be completely equipped for the 2024 European Championships.
After returning to Old Trafford from Juventus in 2021 on a two-year contract, he will be eligible to begin talks with other teams in January 2023 in anticipation of a potential free transfer at the end of the season.
One of the main reasons he stayed at United is because there was very little demand for his services this summer. A move away from Europe becomes more likely if Ronaldo gives up on ever competing in the Champions League again.
Although Saudi Arabia showed serious interest in him this summer, ESPN reported that he was not yet prepared to consider a move to the Middle East, despite receiving a substantial offer.
Option 3: He extends his contract at Old Trafford
Interestingly, United has never said it couldn’t happen, and just this summer, Ten Hag himself said it was a real possibility. Ronaldo signed a two-year contract in 2021 with an option for a third year, extending his stay with the club until 2024.
Options are a common part of United’s player contracts.
For instance, even if talks over a new, lengthier contract with Paul Pogba had stalled, they were able to extend his current contract by a year. According to our sources, Ronaldo’s option is unique in that it requires the consent of both the player and his agents to be exercised.
Sources believe that since the transfer window closed, Ronaldo has been more committed and driven in training and games, making it more likely that he will remain with the club for another year.
If United have a successful season and (crucially) qualifies for the Champions League in their first attempt, he may decide Old Trafford is the place for him after all.