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Cristiano Ronaldo wants out of Manchester United. One of the reasons for that is because the Portugal international doesn’t want to play in the Europa League, a tournament he’s never featured in. However, if comments made by sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli are to be believed, then that’s not always been the case.
It emerged on Saturday that Ronaldo had asked to leave United, just a year after his Hollywood homecoming from Juventus.
The Portugal international bagged an impressive 24 goals across all competitions last term – but those efforts weren’t enough to propel the Red Devils into the Champions League.
One of the reasons Ronaldo wants out is because, over the course of his glittering career, he’s never featured in the Europa League.
It’s even been claimed the 37-year-old sees the tournament as ‘beneath him’, with the veteran scoring 140 goals in the Champions League – more than any other player.
However, Mirabelli revealed in 2018 that Ronaldo had indicated a willingness to drop down a tier the previous year.
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AC Milan were linked with the forward back in the summer transfer window of 2017, when Ronaldo was strutting his stuff at Real Madrid.
And Mirabelli said: “Ronaldo told us: ‘You aren’t in the Champions League, okay, but I have never won the Europa League and so I’ll win that too.’
“He was convinced.
“Some say it was a joke, but we had Ronaldo sealed. There was a possibility of getting him, everything is true.”
In the end, however, that move didn’t unfold.
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Ronaldo stayed at Real Madrid and would go on to win the Champions League in 2018, before moving to Juventus.
Milan, for their part, didn’t have the finances required to strike a deal.
With Ronaldo potentially being on the move, that will only add to Erik ten Hag’s woes as he gears up for the start of his United reign.
Reports have claimed the Dutchman wants Antony to be recruited from Ajax if the club’s No 7 ends up jumping ship.
Yet that deal won’t be easy, especially amid claims the Eredivisie giants would want a fee of £70million to part ways with their wing wizard.
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United continue to stress that Ronaldo is under contract for another year, having penned a two-year contract in 2021.
And it’ll be fascinating to see what happens, especially with the new season creeping closer.
Meanwhile, talkSPORT pundit Tony Cascarino thinks Ronaldo wants to leave United to ‘protect his goal record’ in the Champions League.
With 140 strikes to his name, no player in history has bagged more.
And Cascarino said: “Ronaldo is a player, as always, that has an ego.
“A lot of it is about him but the teams he’s played in have been successful, so you always go with that as a team player.
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“Great, he scores goals, he gets the accolades, he’s one of the greatest that’s ever played the game.
“You can have all that and that’s fine, as long as you’re winning.
“When you don’t win, now you’ve got a problem.
“I said to you off-air, I’m a bit suspicious because he’s got 141 goals in the Champions League. Messi has got 125.
“He doesn’t want to not play Champions League football because he wants to be the greatest Champions League goalscorer of all time and that’s how Ronaldo is made.”
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