Erik ten Hag’s verdict on Cristiano Ronaldo as Man United ‘reach internal agreement’

Manchester United chief Richard Arnold is aligned with Ralf Rangnick when it comes to potentially appointing Erik ten Hag as the club’s next manager, according to reports.

The Red Devils have long been expected to hire Mauricio Pochettino. Yet it appears the current manager of Ajax is receiving support from within the club.

Manchester United aren’t expected to give Rangnick the manager’s job permanently.

Results have been mixed under the German so far, with the Red Devils continuing to fall behind when it comes to qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

According to The Sun, both Rangnick and new United chief Arnold are leaning towards the prospect of hiring Ajax boss Ten Hag.

The Dutchman has done well at Amsterdam since taking over back in 2017, helping transform the Eredivisie outfit into a superpower once again.

And it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Ronaldo if Ten Hag does indeed make the move to the Premier League at the end of the season.

Some have suggested the ex-Bayern Munich coach will try and offload the 37-year-old due to the fact he prefers to work with young players.

Yet comments from Ten Hag suggest that wouldn’t be the case.

The Ajax boss made it clear in 2019 that he felt the veteran was one of the ‘best’ players in the world ahead of a Champions League tie with Juventus.

“I think it’s nice if Ronaldo plays,” Ten Hag said at the time.

“We want to play against the best possible opponent. That’s a challenge and we like to face challenges.

“It’s fantastic if you can compete against a player like Ronaldo.”

Ten Hag may look to keep Ronaldo should he become United’s next manager.

Yet there’s no guarantee the Portugal international will hang around, particularly should they end up failing to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

United are currently fifth in the table, behind West Ham on goal difference.

And they could even fall further down the standings should top four rivals Arsenal and Tottenham win their matches in hand.

Ronaldo has never played in the Europa League or the UEFA Conference League throughout his glittering career so far.

So there’s certainly a possibility he’ll look to leave, with links to Paris Saint-Germain arising amid uncertainty over Kylian Mbappe’s future.

On the other hand, Ronaldo could also be tempted to stay.

Leaving United after just a year, having previously electrified the Red Devils during his first spell at the club, would almost be an admittance that the challenge is too big.

Ronaldo won’t want people to remember this spell at United for all the wrong reasons.

And the chance to work under Ten Hag, one of the world’s most-respected coaches, could be appealing enough for him to stay.

Meanwhile, former Sky Sports anchor Richard Keys recently criticised Ronaldo after he stormed down the tunnel following a 1-1 draw with Burnley.

“[It was reported] that Jorge Mendes was talking to senior Manchester United executives this week about the possibility of Ronaldo leaving in the summer”, Keys said on beIN SPORTS.

“My own view on that would be I’d encourage him to go now, I have been of the opinion all-season long.

“I think he’s as much a part of the problem, not the whole problem, as much a part of the problem as anything and anybody else.

“The other night when he went running to the tunnel at the end of the game at Turf Moor, having recently lectured everybody about being the leader he believes himself to be and that youngsters don’t do the sort of things that he does, how does that encourage team spirit in the dressing room>”

He then added: “That’s fine, then go and sign for Bournemouth and you’ll play every week.”