Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag now has his very own Wayne Rooney | Soccer | SPORTS

Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave Old Trafford because he fears they can’t match his ambition. Sound familiar? It appears Erik ten Hag now has his very own version of Wayne Rooney, who expressed similar concerns about the state of the club during his time with the Red Devils back when Sir Alex Ferguson ruled the roost.

Manchester United have been planning to offload the likes of Anthony Martial, Alex Telles, Brandon Williams, Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe this summer.

What they didn’t bargain for, however, is Ronaldo wanting to call time on his second spell with the Red Devils after just a year.

News broke over the weekend that the 37-year-old was eager to leave United behind for a team playing in the Champions League, leading to links with the likes of Chelsea and Bayern Munich.

Yet the Portugal international is also concerned that United cannot match his own ambition as he enters the twilight years of his career.

It is a worrying state of affairs at Old Trafford, particularly as Ten Hag prepares for the start of his reign.

And it also has echoes of when Rooney wanted to leave the club back in 2010, when Ferguson was in charge.

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At the time, United had narrowly missed out on winning the title to Chelsea the previous year.

They pushed the Blues all the way, despite losing Ronaldo to Real Madrid and seeing Carlos Tevez controversially move to Manchester City the previous summer.

But United, for all their interest in the likes of Franck Ribery, Samuel Eto’o and Karin Benzema, then had an underwhelming window.

They landed Gabriel Obertan, Michael Owen and Antonio Valencia – despite securing £80 million from Ronaldo’s move to Spain.

And, after missing out on the title to Chelsea in 2010, they then proceeded to recruit Bebe, Javier Hernandez and Chris Smalling.

It wasn’t exactly the transfer business that Rooney had been expecting.


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That led to him then asking to leave United in October that year, releasing a statement explaining the club’s lack of ambition was behind his decision.

“I met with David Gill last week and he did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad,” he said.

“I then told him that I would not be signing a new contract.

“I was interested to hear what Sir Alex had to say yesterday and surprised by some of it.

“It is absolutely true, as he said, that my agent and I have had a number of meetings with the club about a new contract.

“During those meetings in August I asked for assurances about the continued ability of the club to attract the top players in the world.

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“I have never had anything but complete respect for MUFC. How could I not have done given its fantastic history and especially the last six years in which I have been lucky to play a part?

“For me its all about winning trophies – as the club has always done under Sir Alex. Because of that I think the questions I was asking were justified.

“Despite recent difficulties, I know I will always owe Sir Alex Ferguson a huge debt. He is a great manager and mentor who has helped and supported me from the day he signed me from Everton when I was only 18.

“For Manchester United’s sake I wish he could go on forever because he’s a one off and a genius.”

Rooney ended up staying after performing a U-turn.

But the brutal truth is that, 12 years on, history is repeating itself with Ronaldo.

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The Portugal international remains as hungry as ever to win trophies, something that didn’t happen last year as the club finished sixth in the Premier League table.

And with United enduring a slow summer so far, it appears his current position is justified.

The Red Devils have interest in a number of players but, while that’s the case, they’ve been alarmingly slow at adding to their squad.

It’s a damning, worrying indictment of where United are acting that the biggest player in world football is questioning the ambitions of the biggest club in the country.

And if Ronaldo does go, there’s a line of thought he’ll stand a better chance of getting the trophies he craves.

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