Cristiano Ronaldo expected to leave in January with Sporting return not ruled out

The striker has had a tricky start to the season

Star forward Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to leave Manchester United in January, with a return to boyhood club Sporting Lisbon not ruled out, according to reports.

Ronaldo has been in the headlines throughout the season, storming off before full time during his side’s 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur after being an unused substitute. This saw him dropped from their subsequent clash against Chelsea, but he has since returned and he captained the side in the absence of Bruno Fernandes as they fell to a 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa over the weekend.

It means that so far this season, the Red Devils have won just one of the four Premier League games that the veteran striker has started, while they have won seven of the ten he has not. Though Erik ten Hag insists on the importance of the forward, it is clear that he and the new Manchester United system are woefully incompatible.

And, with the striker having wanted to leave the club in the summer only to find a lack of interested parties, reports coming out of Germany suggest that all parties are keen for the 37-year-old striker to depart in January. In fact, Sky Germany report that a hunt for his successor is already on, and that the Red Devils could make a move in the winter window, letting Ronaldo go in the process.

One potential destination could be boyhood club Sporting Lisbon, who joined the Red Devils in the play-off round of the Europa League where they will face FC Midtjylland. Having seen a whole string of top clubs around Europe turn down the chance to sign the forward over the summer, Ronaldo may be forced to reconsider his options once more after the World Cup.

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Ben Browning

Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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