Tony Cascarino has claimed that Cristiano Ronaldo is desperate to leave Manchester United because he is afraid that Lionel Messi will eclipse his Champions League record.
It was revealed on Saturday that Ronaldo has made it clear to United that he would like to leave this summer – just 12 months after he re-signed for the club from Juventus.
United failed to qualify for the Champions League after a poor Premier League campaign last year, and Ronaldo has no interest in playing in the Europa League under Erik ten Hag next season.
The 37-year-old is desperate to challenge for major honours in the twilight years of his career, but Cascarino believes that his desire to leave United this summer is because the Portuguese superstar is afraid of losing one of his most impressive personal records to Messi.
Ronaldo is the Champions League’s greatest ever goalscorer after plundering 141 goals in the competition over the course of the past 19 years. But, Messi, who is set to play in the tournament with PSG next year, is only 16 goals behind his rival.
And Cascarino claims Ronaldo’s “ego” and that specific record is the driving force behind his demand. Cascarino told talkSPORT : “Ronaldo is a player, as always, that has an ego. A lot of it is about him but the teams he’s played in have been successful, so you always go with that as a team player.
“Great, he scores goals, he gets the accolades, he’s one of the greatest that’s ever played the game. You can have all that and that’s fine, as long as you’re winning. When you don’t win, now you’ve got a problem.
“I said to you off-air, I’m a bit suspicious because he’s got 141 goals in the Champions League. Messi has got 125. He doesn’t want to not play Champions League football because he wants to be the greatest Champions League goalscorer of all time and that’s how Ronaldo is made.”
Since joining United for the first time back in 2003, Ronaldo has gone on to play in Europe’s premier competition every single year. Given that the veteran is keen to ensure that run continues, it is believed that he will only leave for a club who can offer Champions League football.
A new report from The Athletic has claimed that Chelsea and Bayern are both monitoring Ronaldo’s situation – just days after it emerged that Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, had been in touch with the Blues. Napoli have also been credited with an interest in signing Ronaldo.