Cristiano Ronaldo could be forced to honour the rest of his contract at Manchester United in spite of his desire to leave if they fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League, according to reports. The 37-year-old rejoined the Red Devils on a two-year deal at the start of the campaign but already looks to be facing an uncertain future at Old Trafford ahead of next season.
Ronaldo is said to be ready to walk away from United if they are unable to secure a top-four finish over the coming months.
Club chiefs have promised not to stand in his way if he decides to call time on his second spell at Old Trafford in the summer, according to the Mirror.
It is said that United have come to regret their decision to re-sign Ronaldo, with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner having failed to live up to expectations over the course of this season.
The move was believed to have been primarily motivated by commercial factors and the determination to stop him from joining Manchester City in August of last year.
The defending Premier League champions explored the possibility of bringing Ronaldo to the Etihad Stadium before United made a late swoop to land his signature.
However, the Portuguese forward will be hoping that United’s hierarchy will stick to their word if they fail to secure Champions League football ahead of next season.
The report also claims that there is no clause in his contract that will allow him to break free if the club finish outside the Premier League’s top four.
This could potentially lead to a tricky situation in the event of United opting for a change of heart when the transfer market re-opens in the summer.
Ronaldo is said to be adamant that he remains more than capable of playing Champions League football and would not expect to remain at Old Trafford if they fail to book a place in next season’s tournament.
United would at least save a large sum of money by offloading Ronaldo in the summer, with the former Real Madrid and Juventus man having agreed to a weekly wage in excess of £400,000 at the start of the season.
The deal with Juventus also included around £8million in add-ons but United’s recent struggles on the pitch mean that the vast majority of them will not be triggered.
It remains to be seen whether he will decide to stay at the club or push for a move elsewhere once all is said and done at the end of the campaign.
Former England striker Carlton Cole recently insisted that Ronaldo is part of the problem at United and should bear the same level of responsibility as the rest of the squad when it comes to their lacklustre on-pitch performances.
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“He’s come in and taken all the attention away from what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was doing,” Cole told talkSPORT earlier this month.
“I’m not saying that he’s not going to score you goals, he scores a bag of goals, but was he the right thing for Man United? Was he the right thing for that team?
“The evidence shows, and not even just from tonight, but going on everything that has happened since he came in, Man United still have not gone to the next level.
“I’m not saying it’s just Ronaldo’s fault. A lot of things have happened but he is part of the problem too.”
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