Paul Merson urges Manchester United to 'get rid of' Cristiano Ronaldo sooner rather than later

Paul Merson urges Manchester United to 'get rid of' Cristiano Ronaldo sooner rather than later

Paul Merson has told Manchester United to ditch Cristiano Ronaldo amid the Portuguese star's desire to leave Old Trafford.

The 37-year-old Portuguese star has reportedly told United he wants to depart the club in search of Champions League football.

And speaking in his column for the Daily Star, the former Arsenal playmaker believes the Red Devils have to move on from Ronaldo as soon as possible.

Merson wrote: 'Manchester United have got to draw the line and get rid of Cristiano Ronaldo. The saga has to end sooner rather than later.

'He's told you what he wants, so why hang onto him? The lad won't be sitting at home doing nothing but he hasn't played any football and is now 37. Every footballer will tell you that to get fit you've got to play football matches, that's why they have pre-season friendlies.'

Ronaldo has missed out on United's pre-season fixtures so far, and was absent from the club's list of players travelling to Oslo to play Atletico Madrid on Saturday, as previously reported by Sportsmail.

Merson is unsure how the club's supporters would handle it if he remained at this stage, after declaring he wanted out after United finished sixth last season.

'I really don't know how the fans are going to take it now because he's made it abundantly clear he wants to leave,' the 54-year-old pundit added.

'Nobody wants him and he's stuck in limbo. I think United would have loved it if he'd have gone, of course they would of but it's the way you do it.

'If they just say 'see you later Ronaldo' the fans will go crazy.'

Despite scoring 24 times for United last season, Merson was critical of Ronaldo, saying 'I don't think he does them any favours', because he chose to focus on himself instead of the team.

'It's alright him doing that but it's like a snooker player making 147s every game but never winning a tournament,' Merson noted.

The ex-England star said United needed to secure the rights to a new striker, and as the club are under new management, it would make sense to make that change imminently.

Merson signed off: 'They're one of the biggest clubs in the world of football and they don't have a centre-forward.

'Their striker is 37, that's not very good recruitment. You're also appointing a manager in Erik ten Hag for a long-term plan, you're not just bringing him in for a year or two.

'So for him to have a plan, surely you've got to get started straight away. Ronaldo is not going to be there next season whatever happens. Even if he is, he's another year older.

'This game now is getting quicker and quicker, so for me, United need a new centre-forward in the transfer market.'

United might be expected to act quickly if they are to buy a new forward, with their first Premier League game at home to Brighton on August 7.
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