Manchester United continue to insist that they have moved on from Cristiano Ronaldo, but he is still present in one form at the club.
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Ronaldo is now an Al-Nassr player, having completed his move to the Saudi Arabian side on Friday by signing a contract until 2025 with the Premier League club. He will be earning £173m per year in the Middle East after having his United contract terminated after the interview with Piers Morgan.
The saga loomed large over United in the World Cup break, but they are determined to move on. Erik ten Hag sanctioned his exit in November and has continually answered questions about Ronaldo since.
“I don’t talk about the past, let’s talk about the future,” he told reporters after the Red Devils beat Wolves 1-0 on New Year’s Eve.
United supporters may well have been given a club calendar for 2023 over the festive period. And they would have been shocked when they hung it up on New Year’s Day, with Ronaldo the star for the month of January, despite his exit being confirmed since November 22.
May your new year get off to a better start than whoever put together the official 2023 Manchester United calendar pic.twitter.com/aJcLKkayAw
— Tom Williams (@tomwfootball) January 1, 2023
A picture of the calendar, which shows Ronaldo celebrating in three pictures was posted on Twitter by journalist Tom Williams. “May your new year get off to a better start than whoever put together the official 2023 Manchester United calendar,” he wrote as a caption.
There is Ronaldo memorabilia still available to buy on the Manchester United website, too, with fans able to pick up some bargains since his exit. A red T-shirt with his name and the United badge on has been reduced from £20 to £4, while keyrings & magnets have gone down from £5 to £2. While a Ronaldo badge is now only £1.
United have done well to move on from the Portuguese star on the pitch, with Marcus Rashford scoring in three consecutive wins since the World Cup.
“First of all we are sad that Ronaldo is not part of it,” Eriksen said this week. “His legacy and his name at any club is special, and for me to be fortunate to play with him in my career was very nice.
“But the football goes on. You feel that the next game after, people will forget what it was like before – and now our focus is really like he is not here.”