Cristiano Ronaldo, 37, is back training with his United teammates after missing their summer tour due to a family matter. It came amid ongoing speculation over his future, too, after the Portugal captain held crunch talks with Erik ten Hag and other key figures at United alongside his agent Jorge Mendes.

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Several clubs including Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich and Chelsea distanced themselves from a summer swoop and Ronaldo, depending on match sharpness, could feature for United in the Premier League curtain raiser against Brighton at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon (2pm).

Speaking as part of his promotion for William Hill bookmakers, Ferdinand disagreed with the likes of Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher who have urged United to sell the Portuguese star. Ferdinand said: “People are saying you’ve got to let Ronaldo go. Well, get someone in who can score 24-25 goals first.

“Darwin Nunez has gone, Erling Haaland has gone and Robert Lewandowski has gone. They were the three players that you were thinking; look these are the only ones that you were going to go for that will outright come into the Manchester United team immediately, but they’re gone.

“So Manchester United can’t let Ronaldo go, they can’t. Even if he’s begging to go they just can’t let him go. It’s not the right thing to do, I don’t think.”

Ferdinand added: “You’re gambling on Anthony Martial, who’s never been consistent enough and who they would have let go for peanuts last season if they could have, if there were any takers. He went to Sevilla and didn’t do it.

“Marcus Rashford hasn’t played properly for probably 18 months, maybe longer. Jadon Sancho last season didn’t hit the heights that United expected and Anthony Elanga’s a young kid…

“So you’re looking at this and thinking; who can we hang our hat on and say yes, he’s going to drag the others up? Bruno Fernandes maybe, but he’s not a striker. It’s very easy for everybody to say; ‘you’ve got to get rid of Ronaldo, it’s a circus around him, he’s bringing too much attention.

“He might be bringing a little more attention than the club wants. But he guarantees goals every single season.”


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