Soccer

Cristiano Ronaldo ‘already knows next club’ after Man Utd bust up

Glazer family considering sale as Cristiano Ronaldo leaves Manchester United

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Cristiano Ronaldo “already knows” which club he will sign for next after leaving Manchester United according to former Chelsea defender Frank Leboeuf. The Portugal star agreed to mutually terminate his contract at Old Trafford after holding an interview with broadcaster Piers Morgan where he criticised the club and head coach Erik ten Hag.

There has been plenty of speculation surrounding the 37-year-old’s future, with a host of clubs linked in both the Premier League and across Europe. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is also reportedly set to receive a blockbuster offer from Saudi Arabia where he could earn £300million over two years.

Former France defender Leboeuf believes that Ronaldo already knows his next club, and would not have agreed to forgo his wages during his exit from United without having another team lined up. “I think for me he wants to win, he is a winner and he wants to win, even out of the field he wants to win,” Leboeuf told ESPN.

“So I don’t think he agreed to not get any money, he agreed to terminate his contract with Manchester United without knowing what his future will be. I think he already knows where he is going to go. I think like a political person, just waiting [for] the right time to say ‘Okay it’s time for… Chelsea!?’”

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Ronaldo took aim at Ten Hag, club owners the Glazers, Wayne Rooney and Gary Neville during his controversial interview with Morgan that ended his second spell at the club. He and Portugal took on Ghana in the World Cup on Thursday in Ronaldo’s first game since leaving United, and Liverpool icon Graeme Souness has claimed that the striker will be “relieved” now that the drama in Manchester has been settled.

“I think he’ll be relieved, he’s a player who enjoys the limelight and the spotlight’s certainly on him,” Souness told ITV. “All the questions will be asked where is he going to end up, but he’ll relish the challenge. This is his last World Cup, and he’ll see this as a chance to go out with a real big bang.”

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Former United midfielder Roy Keane, on the punditry panel with Souness, believes that Ronaldo and agent Jorge Mendes will have a plan for his future. “I think he’ll be liberated,” Keane added.

“He’s drawn a line under it, no doubt him and his agent will have something up their sleeves. He’ll probably have his next club sorted already.

“But he’s a top – there’s only [Lionel] Messi I think who stands above him as the greatest of all time. He’d have had only this World Cup to think about for three-four weeks.”

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