Manchester United v Wolves: Match in pictures
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Cristiano Ronaldo could sensationally end his Manchester United return after just a year if he is unhappy with the Red Devils’ choice of next manager. The legendary forward completed an incredible comeback to Old Trafford in the summer but his second spell has not entirely gone to plan, and his future could depend on new CEO Richard Arnold.
Ronaldo has enjoyed a positive personal record this season, scoring 14 goals in 22 appearances.
The Portugal icon was signed in a £20million transfer from Juventus, although was initially linked with fierce rivals Manchester City after requesting to leave the Serie A outfit.
It was widely hoped that he would be the signing capable of helping the club finally challenge for their first Premier League title since Sir Alex Ferguson’s 2013 departure.
But United have suffered a disappointing campaign, first under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and now under Ralf Rangnick.
Solskjaer was sacked in November after overseeing a run of disastrous results, compounded by a 4-1 thrashing by relegation-threatened Watford.
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Rangnick has been placed in interim charge until the end of the season but performances under the German have been unconvincing.
Monday’s 1-0 loss at home to Wolves was his first defeat but displays in narrow victories over Crystal Palace and Norwich and in the 1-1 draw with Newcastle were below-par.
Rumours that the United squad is not entirely content with Rangnick’s methods, and his preferred 4-2-2-2 formation, have surfaced in recent weeks and came to a head following the reverse against Wolves.
And Ronaldo is reportedly considering his future at Old Trafford. According to the Daily Star, the 36-year-old’s decision will be based on who United appoint as the next permanent boss.
Rangnick has been hired on a deal until the end of the season but has not ruled out taking on the job permanently.
The former RB Leipzig head coach is likely to take on a consultancy role within the Old Trafford hierarchy on a two-year deal upon the end of the campaign.
United have been linked with Mauricio Pochettino, Brendan Rodgers and Erik Ten Hag.
The decision over a new manager will likely heavily land on the shoulders of new CEO Arnold, who United announced on Wednesday will replace the outgoing Ed Woodward in February.
That could mean that star striker Ronaldo’s United future depends on the work of Arnold, who moves from the role of managing director.
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Ronaldo turns 37 in February and signed a two-year contract when he arrived in August last year.
“He thought it would be better than this,” a source told the Daily Star.
“He’s a born winner and wants to be winning more trophies, so who the next manager turns out to be will help him decide his next move.”
Rangnick’s side now face a doubleheader against Aston Villa. They host the Villans in a crunch FA Cup clash on Monday before travelling to Villa Park in the Premier League five days later.
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