Cristiano Ronaldo’s future at Manchester United all rests on who the club installs as its next permanent manager.
That is according to former Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion striker Kevin Phillips, who believes the Portuguese star could now be regretting his decision to return to Old Trafford last summer.
After growing restless at Italian heavyweights Juventus, Ronaldo set out his ambition of leaving the club before the summer transfer window closed.
Manchester City were quickly installed as the favourites to sign him and looked set to get a deal over the line, only for an 11th-hour swoop from United to direct him back to Old Trafford.
Although he finds himself at the top of the club’s goalscoring charts this season, netting 15 goals in all competitions, Ronaldo has not had the impact many United fans had hoped for, with poor collective form and a change in management going against the script of his first season back in red.
With United’s long-term strategy under a new manager yet to be decided, Phillips, a one-time Premier League Golden Boot winner, has admitted that he can see Ronaldo leaving United at the end of the campaign if he does not feature prominently in the new boss’ plans.
“Ronaldo’s future depends on the next manager for me,” Phillips told Football Insider. “Does Ronaldo fit into the new manager’s plan?
“The decision to go back to Manchester United was driven by his heart. You can only imagine the amount of goals he would have scored at Manchester City this season. I think he’d have scored around 30.
“You can see how frustrated, upset and angry he is with the players around him at times. If he had his time again, would he go back? I would question that.
“The incoming manager will have an important say on Ronaldo’s future. Does he fit into his plans? If not I can see him and [Edinson] Cavani leaving at the end of the season.”