Cristiano Ronaldo has denied shouting “I’m not finished” into the camera after scoring his 18th Premier League goal of the season amid renewed speculation surrounding the Manchester United forward’s future.
The summer arrival of Erik ten Hag is expected to instigate a major overhaul at United, but their leading goalscorer has played down suggestions that he sent the incoming manager a message during the 3-0 win over Brentford on Monday.
In reply to a fan account reporting the claims, Ronaldo commented: “I didn’t say that.”
Ralf Rangnick also insisted Ronaldo is set to remain at the club after the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was seen waving to supporters as the first team completed a lap of honour to mark their final fixture of the season at Old Trafford.
In his pitchside interview with Malaysian broadcaster Stadium Astro, Rangnick stressed that Ronaldo has “got another year of his contract, and as far as I know he will be here next season again”.
He added: “I don’t think why it should be a wave of goodbye.” Ronaldo’s current contract runs until June 2023.
With only away fixtures at Brighton and Crystal Palace left to play, Nemanja Matic, who is out of contract in June, was given a standing ovation by United fans. Jesse Lingard, whose future is also uncertain, did not come on, leading his brother to comment on Instagram that the midfielder had “been there since nine years of age and didn’t even get a send-off”.
While the futures of a number of players is up in the air due to Rangnick’s imminent move upstairs and his replacement by Ten Hag, in the Sky Sports studio, Roy Keane added that Ronaldo’s performances “warrant [him] staying at the club.
“Manchester United have to get players around him, they have to get other strikers in, there has to be competition for places,” Keane said.
“If the leading goalscorer, the man you are depending on, is 37 years of age then that is certainly not good but I would certainly be holding onto Ronaldo.
“There might be a conversation that needs to be had about the way you are going to play or that you are not going to be playing week in and week out. But why would you get rid of a player who scores that many goals? I don’t see the logic in it.”
Jamie Carragher’s main reservations about Ronaldo’s United future concerned his attitude, as he suggested he will need to be “more mature and be a better leader” under Ten Hag.
“I think a top manager will come in and have that conversation with him and cut that rubbish out, like at Brentford when he is shaking his head 15 minutes after coming off,” Carragher explained.
“Of course you are disappointed when you come off but don’t keep it up for one or two days, that is where you have to sort that maturity out. Even Ronaldo has to look at the bigger picture.
“And when you do have that conversation as a top manager, make it plain to him that won’t be tolerated, if he is not buying into that then you do say, ‘No, you’re not going to be part of my plans’.
“If he is thinking he has to play every minute of every game, that is rubbish at his age anyway.”