Man Utd have four trump cards when it comes to keeping Cristiano Ronaldo for Erik ten Hag

Messi world's highest paid athlete with Ronaldo also featuring in Top 10

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Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo continues to be linked with a move away from Old Trafford after telling the board he wants out. The Portugal international is eager to play in the Champions League next term, something the Red Devils can’t offer following their sixth-placed finish last season. However, United haven’t yet lost all hope of keeping the 37-year-old.

News broke last weekend that Ronaldo wanted to leave United for a second time.

He previously got his way in 2009, moving to Real Madrid that summer for a world-record fee of £80million.

But United are adamant Ronaldo isn’t for sale, despite links to the likes of Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Barcelona all arising.

That is unlikely to stop the Portugal international from pushing to depart, however, having done the same with Juventus less than a year ago.

So Express Sport will now take a look at four ways United can make sure Ronaldo stays put, at a time where his departure is looking increasingly likely.

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Under contract

United are actually under no pressure to sell Ronaldo.

The veteran still has a year left on his current contract, having penned a two-year deal upon returning from Juventus last August.

And that means United don’t need to cash in, though reports have claimed they’d want their money back in the event of a departure.

Ronaldo is professional and has no plans to go on strike in order to get the exit he craves.

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So United, just by merely digging their heels in and drowning out the noise, can prevent their No 7 from jumping ship.

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The Ten Hag factor

Ronaldo recently talked up Ten Hag, saying: “What I know about him is he did a fantastic job for Ajax, that he’s an experienced coach. Things need to change the way he wants.

“I hope we have success, of course, because, if you have success, all of Manchester is going to have success as well. I wish him the best.

“We are happy and excited, not only as players, but the supporters as well.

“I wish him the best and let’s believe that, next year, we are going to win trophies.”

United can now point to those comments and tell Ronaldo he’s vital to Ten Hag’s plans.

The Dutchman has said he wants the Portugal international in his squad next term and, having already impressed the squad, he’ll be hoping to make his mark with Ronaldo as well.

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Shambolic timing

United can also make it clear to Ronaldo that the timing of his exit bombshell couldn’t have been worse.

They’re hoping to use the majority of their budget on Frenkie de Jong, despite claims the Barcelona star is reluctant to make the move.

And they’re also planning on landing Lisandro Martinez and Antony, too.

Ronaldo wanting to leave United has taken the club by surprise, especially given the timing.

So they can penalise the Portugal international by making him stay when he’s had weeks to make clear his intentions.

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The captaincy?

Another way for United to ensure Ronaldo stays put is potentially giving him the captaincy.

It would be a risk, especially given his desire to depart.

But Ronaldo can inspire a new generation at United and remains the goal when it comes to players reaching their full potential.

The Portugal international could relish the chance to be leader of the dressing room, giving him the chance to shape minds like his own.

And while it would upset Harry Maguire, it’s a decision Ten Hag needs to make as he prepares to start his Old Trafford reign.

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