Cristiano Ronaldo changes retirement plan as he refuses to let go of Lionel Messi rivalry
Manchester United could be left with just two players Cristiano Ronaldo thinks are top professionals if Casemiro ends up leaving Old Trafford in January. The Brazilian midfielder only joined United last year but after a difficult start to this season, the Red Devils are reportedly considering cashing in on him in the New Year.
According to talkSPORT, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who is currently waiting on the board to green-light his purchase of a 25 per cent stake in the club, is open to offering Casemiro out to help fund his rebuild project. The British billionaire is also said to be keen on offloading down-on-their-luck wingers Antony, Anthony Martial and Jadon Sancho.
Unlike the latter three players, Casemiro was in excellent form during the 2022/2023 campaign. His departure would no doubt raise a few eyebrows among the United faithful unless he commanded a fee close to the £60million they paid Real Madrid for his services in the summer of 2022.
One potential route is a move to the Saudi Pro League where clubs have a track record of spending big bucks on veteran players. Several Saudi sides are said to be interested in snapping him up with Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr thought to be among those keeping a close eye on the 31-year-old.
CR7 would surely jump at the opportunity to be reunited with his old pal after playing alongside each other for five and a half seasons at Real Madrid and Man Utd. Five of those years were spent at Real Madrid during which time they won four consecutive Champions Leagues, a La Liga title, a Copa del Ray and a Spanish Super Cup.
Meanwhile, their time at Old Trafford was short-lived. Six months after Casemiro’s arrival, Ronaldo joined Al-Nassr after falling out with Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag.
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During an infamous interview with Piers Morgan shortly before his move to the Middle East, Ronaldo insisted that the club had made “zero progress” since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 and admitted that he didn’t respect Ten Hag. But Ronaldo did have some kind words to say about three of his former team-mates, labelling Diogo Dalot, Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez as the only “top professionals” in the squad.
Asked about which players he admires at Man Utd, Ronaldo replied: “In Manchester United, I can mention Dalot, he’s young, but very professional but I don’t doubt that he’s going to have longevity in football because he’s young, he’s smart, intelligent and he’s very professional. Probably [Lisandro] Martinez, Casemiro is in his 30s, but I will say Dalot.”
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