Former Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has urged the club to sell Cristiano Ronaldo if he does not wish to continue at Old Trafford.

Writing in his column for The Times, former Manchester United captain and club legend, Wayne Rooney, has told the Red Devils that it might be time for them to part ways with fellow icon Cristiano Ronaldo this summer.

Ronaldo returned to Manchester United last year, signing from Juventus, but things have not gone as per plans for the Portuguese maverick. Even though he enjoyed a strong return on a personal level, bagging 24 goals in all competitions in 2021/22, the team struggled and finished outside the top four in the Premier League and did not perform well enough in the cup competitions.

It has given way to speculations over Ronaldo’s future, with the 37-year-old believed to be pushing for an exit as he wishes to play in the Champions League. The Portugal captain did not take part in the club’s pre-season tour to Asia and Australia and only played 45 minutes of football which came in the friendly against Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford.

Manager Erik ten Hag, hence, opted to leave him out of the starting XI for Manchester United’s Premier League opener against Brighton & Hove Albion, which the Red Devils lost 1-2. Ronaldo featured as a substitute, coming on early in the second period but failed to impact the proceedings and spark a turnaround.

Now, Rooney, who formed one of the most fearsome attacking partnerships alongside Ronaldo at Manchester United in the past, has told the club to sanction an exit if the 37-year-old does not wish to continue at Old Trafford. Instead, he has advised the 20-time English champions to bring in a striker who can be a part of the team for the next 3-4 years.

“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,” Rooney wrote in his column.

“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.”

Ronaldo’s situation has led to Manchester United scouring the market for a new striker, with Red Bull Salzburg’s Benjamin Sesko emerging as a target. However, the Portuguese talisman is yet to find a suitor for himself, with several top clubs already turning down a chance to sign him. So, it remains to be seen if he continues at Old Trafford beyond the summer.

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