Wayne Rooney has urged his former club Manchester United to allow Cristiano Ronaldo to leave the club this summer if the player wants to do so. Ronaldo told United in July that he wants to leave after just one season back at Old Trafford so as to continue playing Champions League football, but has so far been unable to find a new club.
Now the five-time Ballon d'Or winner could be in line to start for United in their opening game of the season against Brighton on Sunday, with Anthony Martial out injured.
'Man United should allow Ronaldo to go'
Writing for The Times, United legend Rooney advised his former club to end the Ronaldo transfer saga and try and build a team for the future that can challenge for the Premier League title in the coming years.
He said, "I think United should let Cristiano Ronaldo go. It's not that Ronaldo can't play in a [Erik] Ten Hag team. He can play in any team. Ronny will always score you goals.
"But my personal view is that United aren't ready to challenge for the title now, so the aim has to be to build a team that can win the league in the next three to four years, and you have to plan for that.
"If the reports are true that Cristiano wants to leave the club, then United should allow him to go and get a No.9 in who is going to be there for the next three or four years and really help them build a team that can be successful. Ten Hag has to be given time to do it."
Will Man Utd replace Ronaldo if he leaves?
Ronaldo's bombshell left United in a bit of a bind as they planned their rebuild under Erik ten Hag, as a central striker was not a priority for the club this summer.
They had shown an interest in Darwin Nunez, but dropped out of the race when it became clear that Liverpool were closing in on the ex-Benfica star.
Now, they have switched attentions to Red Bull Salzburg teenager Benjamin Sesko, who has also been linked with Chelsea and Real Madrid.
The Slovenia international has been likened to Erling Haaland, but could cost around £50 million ($60.3m) to sign this summer, which is a fee that United would be reluctant to pay.