Cristiano Ronaldo scored Manchester United’s three goals in the win over bottom Premier League side Norwich. United went 2-0 up in the first half but had to work hard for the three points. Norwich stunned Old Trafford and equalized after 52 minutes before Ronaldo starred once more to give his team the edge 12 minutes before the end of the match. It finished 3-2.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick for United as the Red Devils beat Norwich 3-2 at Old Trafford on Saturday. (Image: Twitter/squawka)

Manchester United has a verbal agreement with now-Ajax manager Erik ten Hag to take over starting 1 July. According to the Daily Star, the Dutchman “has made it clear to United that Ronaldo will not suit his style of play, with the legend not part of his plans”.

Cristiano only re-signed for the Red Devils last summer and has two years left in his deal. He earns a staggering $500k per week wage in Manchester, making him the best-paid player in the Premier League. Ronaldo played 35 games at club level this season, netting an impressive 21 goals and assisting another three. He is by far the most important goal-contributor in the United squad, but still many see him as a problem, rather than a solution.

Manchester United failed to build on its second-place qualification last year and is now uncertain of its Champions League status at the end of the campaign. Ralf Rangnick’s men are three points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with six games still to be played this season. Ronaldo’s form will be essential for the team, as United gets ready to play Liverpool, Arsenal, and Chelsea in the next month. United is now out of the Champions League and was eliminated from the FA Cup too. The club’s chances to save what’s there to be saved lie in reaching the fourth spot.

Where next for Ronaldo?

A week ago, the bookies had United at +2200 to make the Champions League cut once the season concludes. Now, with Tottenham and Arsenal both losing on Saturday, odds have been slashed in United’s favor. Ronaldo and his teammates are now at +650 to finish at least fourth.

Even if the Champions League anthem will be played at Old Trafford in September, Ronaldo might not be there to hear it. His permanence in the squad is now the biggest dilemma inside the club since the permanent manager role is all but officially filled. Cristiano suggested he’d favor a move to the MLS before retirement, but the bookies don’t see him crossing the ocean. Not yet, at least. His boyhood club Sporting is regarded as the favorite to land him. At +350, Sporting is ahead of Paris Saint-Germain (+450) and Real Madrid (+800).

37-year-old Ronaldo was allegedly inches-close to actually joining arch-rivals City last year. Spanish journalist Guillem Balague, who’s working for the likes of BBC, CBS, and La Liga TV, claims City “was Cristiano’s preferred choice” when he decided to leave Juventus. United reacted fast, though, and convinced him to opt for the red side of Manchester.

While a move to a rival club in the Premier League remains unlikely at the moment, bookies also keep Chelsea in their offer at +2500, alongside City at +1200. A return to Juventus is at +1400, the same as a transfer to Bayern, while a shock return to Italy to join Juve rivals Inter is at +2000.

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