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Report: Manchester United expect Ronaldo to push for January exit

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It appears Cristiano Ronaldo's future will be under the spotlight again in the new year.

Manchester United anticipate that the Portuguese superstar will push for a transfer away from Old Trafford in January in an effort to play regularly, according to ESPN's Rob Dawson.

Ronaldo, however, may consider staying if he can win over United manager Erik ten Hag and reclaim his place as a first-team regular, Dawson adds.

The 37-year-old tried to engineer a move away from the Red Devils last summer, but his departure was eventually ruled out by Ten Hag on transfer deadline day.

Along with concerns about a reduced role under the Dutch manager, Ronaldo was said to be eager to join a club in the Champions League after United's failure in the 2021-22 campaign to qualify for the competition.

Ronaldo has only made two substitute appearances - and was left on the bench for last weekend's 6-3 derby loss to Manchester City - since his attempt to leave was denied on Aug. 31. His last league start came in United's humiliating 4-0 defeat to Brentford on Aug. 13.

Despite Ronaldo's reduced role, Ten Hag may still be reluctant to green-light a January exit in order to remain aligned with United's new transfer policy, Dawson reports. The club is expected to reduce its spending significantly in the upcoming transfer windows, meaning that United will struggle to replace Ronaldo if he leaves.

If a January transfer materializes, Ronaldo will be eligible under UEFA rules to play in the Champions League despite appearing in two Europa League games for United.

Ronaldo is the all-time top scorer in the Champions League with 140 goals. Paris Saint-Germain star Lionel Messi is second with 126 and will have at least four games in the group stage to cut into his rival's lead.

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