Cristiano Ronaldo has been granted extra time off to deal with an unspecified family issue which means he will miss Manchester United’s pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia. The Portuguese football star’s absence comes at a time when his future with the Premier League club is in jeopardy. The 37-year-old has returned to his former side after a 12-year absence from Old Trafford. But it saw United finish in sixth place and only qualify for the Europa League rather than the prestigious Champions League. Look: Cristiano Ronaldo features in Manchester United’s new season kit launch despite exit speculation
It’s unclear when Ronaldo will join the team, and with clubs like Bayern Munich and Chelsea interested in signing the superstar, his future has become a hot topic of debate among pundits and fans alike. Former United star Rio Ferdinand has named his pick to replace Ronaldo, who scored 24 goals in all competitions for United last season.
“I don’t see it happening man, I can’t even think about it because you have to look at the whole situation. It’s going in the window, if Man United let him go (Erling) Haaland and (Darwin]Nunez , the first two on your list are probably gone. The only other person who could fill those shoes, who I would trust and who might be able to do that, is (Robert) Lewandowski,” Ferdinand told FIVE Magazine. .
Barcelona have already made an offer to Bayern Munich for the star striker. Lewandowski said earlier that ‘my story with Bayern Munich is over’ and a transfer to a new club would be the best solution. The 33-year-old Polish striker still has one season left on his contract with the Bundesliga giants.
“Lewandowski looks like he cares about Barcelona if they can get this deal done. The only way I see that happening is if Man United can get Lewandowski and then Ronaldo can leave then – that’s the only way let that happen.”
Contract extension talks between Bayern Munich and Lewandowski have broken down this season, with both sides providing different reasons. “If United can’t get a ready-made replacement to score the 20, 25 goals next season apart from Lewandowski, someone can be gotten, I don’t think that’s a deal that’s done, not at all,” added Ferdinand.
Speaking of United’s pre-season tour, it will feature matches against Liverpool, Melbourne Victory, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa. Additionally, this will be the first opportunity for new gaffer Erik Ten Hag to work in depth with the team members.