Having finishing 15 points behind champions Real Madrid in LaLiga season, Atletico Madrid are in a bit of a rebuilding process.

While Hector Herrera, Luis Suarez and Sime Vrsaljko head for the exit, Saul Niguez and Alvaro Morata return from loans, with Belgium midfielder Axel Witsel potentially also signing on a free transfer.

Reports suggest that Atleti are also particularly keen on keeping one of Witsel's international team-mates.

TOP STORY – ATLETI TO WARD OFF CARRASCO INTEREST

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone is unwilling to let go of Yannick Carrasco amid growing interest from Premier League clubs, according to Diario AS.

Although Carrasco's contract expires in 2024, his reported release clause of €60million reportedly makes him an attractive prospect to the likes of ChelseaTottenham Hotspur and Manchester United.

Simeone has apparently ordered the club to not field any offers for the 28-year-old, who he considers fundamental to his future plans.

Though the player is reportedly happy at the Wanda Metropolitano, offers from elsewhere could potentially play a role in any contract negotiations.

ROUND-UP

– Cristiano Ronaldo is considering a departure from Manchester United in response to a lack of recent transfer activity under Erik ten Hag, Record reports.

Barcelona have finally made a bid for Robert Lewandowski, with an opening offer to Bayern Munich of €40m, according to the Telegraph.

– The same publication is also reporting that, with one year remaining on his contract, France international Adrien Rabiot has requested a transfer from Juventus to the Premier League.

Milan are considering making an offer for Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz, per TuttomercatoWeb.

Wojciech Szczesny says playing with Cristiano Ronaldo made him feel like his side were starting matches a goal up, as he rued Juventus' failure to win the Champions League with the Portugual great.

Ronaldo scored 101 goals in 134 appearances in all competitions for Juve between 2018 and 2021, averaging a strike every 113.95 minutes and winning five trophies in Italy.

Juve stumbled to a second consecutive fourth-placed Serie A finish in the 2021-22 season after Ronaldo returned to Manchester United, who themselves toiled in the Premier League, finishing sixth with their worst points tally (58) in the competition, despite the striker's 18 top-flight goals.

Ronaldo failed to add to his five Champions League titles while representing the Bianconeri, and while Szczesny regrets their European exits to Ajax (2019), Lyon (2020) and Porto (2021), he remembers his time playing with the striker fondly.

"[He is] a brilliant footballer, who makes a difference not only on the pitch," Szczesny told Polish newspaper Przeglad Sportowy. "I don't know if there is anyone in the world at his level. 

"When he arrived, however, we didn't see him as a CR7, but as a team-mate. With him, however, I tried things that didn't exist. 

"Entering the field with him, even before the referee whistled for the start, it was like being 1-0 ahead. It was impressive.

"The Champions League was within our reach in the first two seasons, then we went out with teams we shouldn't have lost against. But this is the Champions League."

While Juventus' spell of dominance over Serie A has come crashing to a halt over the last two seasons after they won nine consecutive titles between 2012 and 2020, Szczesny believes Massimiliano Allegri and predecessor Andrea Pirlo did well to secure top-four finishes.

"Sooner or later, it had to end," he said. "After nine years of victories there was a generational change of players. 

"Changing always costs something. However, I believe that Pirlo and Allegri have done a great job getting to Champions League qualification."

Szczesny has made 137 league appearances for Juve since joining in 2017, keeping 50 clean sheets, and is keen to remain in Turin until his contract expires in 2025.

However, the former Arsenal goalkeeper does not expect to get close to the legendary Gianluigi Buffon's tally of 489 Serei A games in the Juventus goal, saying a move to Spain could be on the cards in three years' time.

"I still have three years on my contract and if they want to keep me, I would like to complete it," he added. "Every year there are market rumours, now I worry when new names do not come out for Juventus' goal!

"I won't play as much as he [Buffon] does. I want to stay at Juventus until 2025, then maybe I'll go to Spain where I have a home."

Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly assessing his options for next season as he does not feel he fits in the aggressive press-from-the-front system expected to be implemented by incoming manager Erik ten Hag.

The 37-year-old showed he is still more than capable of contributing at the highest level in 2021-22, scoring 18 goals in 30 Premier League appearances and six in seven in the Champions League.

With one year remaining on his contract, the Portugal icon would demand a fee, but there are reportedly some familiar faces interested in acquiring his services.

TOP STORY – RONALDO SHUNS TEN HAG, WANTS OUT OF OLD TRAFFORD

Jose Mourinho is said to be enquiring about the possibility of bringing Ronaldo to Roma, with the Italian club hoping the legendary coach can move the needle and convince him to return to Serie A, according to La Repubblica.

Mourinho will reportedly have to compete with the nostalgia factor as Sporting CP have also thrown their hat in the ring, with the thought Ronaldo may want to finish his career where it began at the Primeira Liga club he called home before he was first picked up by United in 2003.

If the five-time Ballon d'Or winner truly decides his time with United is up, as the report from the Italian outlet claims, there will undoubtedly be a bevy of suitors willing to bring in one of the game's most marketable superstars.

ROUND-UP

Arsenal are said to be "cautiously optimistic" of signing Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus, although Sky Sports is reporting the club are hoping to pay closer to £30million, rather than the £50m asking price.

– According to The Athletic, Arsenal are also targeting Leeds United winger Raphinha and Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez.

– ESPN is reporting Chelsea are investigating whether it is possible to replace Romelu Lukaku with Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski

United are expecting Barcelona to lower their asking price for Frenkie de Jong due to their financial problems, according to the Guardian.

– The Daily Mail is reporting Everton view Watford striker Emmanuel Dennis as a potential replacement for Richarlison if he leaves during this transfer window.

Cristiano Ronaldo has paid a glowing tribute to Marcelo following his Real Madrid departure, hailing the Brazilian as "more than a team-mate" during their time together in the Spanish capital.

Marcelo held an emotional news conference on Monday to say farewell to Madrid, where he spent 15 years and lifted 25 trophies – making him the club's most decorated player in terms of honours.

A large part of that period of success came alongside Ronaldo with the pair forging a superb relationship down the left side that was decisive in the club's years of domination in the Champions League.

That spell also saw Ronaldo become the club's all-time leading scorer before he left for Juventus and now Manchester United, and the Portugal great still holds his former colleague in the highest regard.


"More than a team-mate, a brother that football gave me," he posted on social media.

"On and off the fields, one of the biggest stars with whom I had the pleasure of sharing a locker room.

"Go with everything on this new adventure, Marcelo!"

Marcelo, 34, confirmed he does not plan to retire and would have no problem facing Real Madrid if he was to tackle them as an opponent.

"I won't retire, not now," he said. "I feel I can still play. Facing Real Madrid won't be a problem. I'm a big Madridista but I'm also a big professional."

Portugal suffered their first defeat of the Nations League campaign after Haris Seferovic scored the winner in a 1-0 victory for Switzerland in Geneva.

Switzerland had lost all three of their Group A2 fixtures, including a 4-0 hammering in the reverse fixture, but took the lead through Seferovic inside the first minute.

Fernando Santos' side were repeatedly denied by Swiss goalkeeper Jonas Omlin in search of an equaliser, with the absence of the injured talisman Cristiano Ronaldo particularly noticeable for the visitors.

Defeat left Portugal a point behind Spain at the summit of the group, while Switzerland picked up their first win to move one point behind Czech Republic in third.

Switzerland raced out the blocks as Seferovic headed into the bottom-left corner from Silvan Widmer's right-wing cross after just 55 seconds – the fastest goal in Nations League history.

The hosts thought they had a penalty 13 minutes later for a Nuno Mendes handball, but a lengthy VAR check ruled the spot-kick out for an earlier Nico Elvedi foul on Andre Silva.

Omlin kept his side ahead by denying a close-range Danilo Pereira header, before Rafael Leao headed home shortly after, only to be ruled out for offside.

Omlin also stopped a low Andre Silva drive after the interval, while Remo Freuler drilled just wide at the other end.

Seferovic almost extended Switzerland's lead but arrowed narrowly off target on a rapid counter-attack before Omlin beat away a swerving Bernardo Silva long-range strike.

The Montpellier stopper carried on his fantastic performance by pushing away a sliding Goncalo Guedes effort and a low Diogo Jota header as Switzerland held on for victory.

What does it mean? Portugal's top-spot hopes dented

Portugal were arguably fortunate to snatch a draw in their Nations League opener with Spain, but then recorded convincing victories over Switzerland and Czech Republic.

However, they came unstuck in Geneva and were largely off the pace, handing Spain the advantage in Group A2.

With only one team progressing, Portugal may end up needing to beat Spain on the final matchday in September.

Swift Seferovic

Not only was Seferovic's smart flick to open the scoring the fastest goal in Nations League history, but it was also Switzerland's earliest goal since 1988.

The striker became the first Swiss player to score in the first minute of a game in 34 years, since Alain Sutter managed to do so in World Cup qualifying against Luxembourg.

Sorry Silva

Andre Silva was tasked with leading the line in the absence of Ronaldo, but failed to leave his mark against Elvedi and Manuel Akanji.

The RB Leipzig striker was caught offside on a game-high two occasions, the first in the build-up to Leao's disallowed header, and made just 15 passes all match.

What's next?

Portugal are not in action until a Nations League away clash at Czech Republic on September 24, when Switzerland also visit Spain.

A U.S. judge has dismissed the rape allegation lawsuit made against Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo was alleged to have raped Kathryn Mayorga in a Las Vegas hotel in 2009, which the Manchester United and Portugal forward has strongly denied. He has never been charged.

Ms Mayorga and Ronaldo are reported to have reached an out-of-court settlement of $375,000 in 2010. 

However, Ms Mayorga – who has given her consent for her name to be made public – had been seeking a further payment, stating that she felt pressured to accept the initial offer.

The case was kicked out of court on Friday, though, due to the way the documents relating to the case had been obtained.

U.S District Judge Jennifer Dorsey said in her 42-page order that Ronaldo had been harmed by the conduct of Ms Mayorga's lawyer, Leslie Mark Stovall.

Dorsey said Stovall had worked in "bad faith" through repeated use of stolen and privileged documents to prosecute, which had tainted the case beyond redemption.

"I find that the procurement and continued use of these documents was bad faith," the ruling said.

"Simply disqualifying Stovall will not cure the prejudice to Ronaldo because the misappropriated documents and their confidential contents have been woven into the very fabric of [plaintiff Kathryn] Mayorga's claims. Harsh sanctions are merited."

Ms Mayorga's legal team may yet appeal against the decision.

In a statement released in October 2018, Ronaldo said: "I firmly deny the accusations being issued against me.

"Rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I am and believe in."

Cristiano Ronaldo was left out of the Portugal squad for their Nations League meeting with Switzerland on Sunday. 

Portugal captain Ronaldo, Joao Moutinho and Raphael Guerreiro did not travel with the team for the match in Geneva. 

With his team sitting top of Group A2, Fernando Santos took the chance to grant the Manchester United striker a rest. 

Asked about the absences, Santos replied: "They are not because of physical problems – it's just normal management. 

"It wouldn't make sense to have 26 travelling to Switzerland when only 23 can be in the squad. In the last game we've been doing the best management and now it has fallen to these players." 

Even without Ronaldo, midfielder Ruben Neves has no doubt that Portugal have enough quality to claim a third win of the campaign. 

"Obviously, Cristiano is the best player in the world and it's always good to play with him," said Neves. 

"But I'm sure we're all prepared to help bring home another three points." 

Manchester United have become somewhat accustomed to disappointment over the past nine years, but the 2021-22 season arguably saw them plumb new depths.

United accumulated just 58 points, their worst record in a single Premier League campaign.

But on top of that, champions Manchester City's haul of 93 points meant United finished the season 35 points adrift of the summit – that is comfortably the furthest off the top the Red Devils have ended a term in the Premier League era.

It was also the first time since 1989-90 that United failed to finish a league season with a positive goal difference, as they scored and conceded 57 goals.

Interim manager Ralf Rangnick said during his tenure that the squad needed the equivalent of open-heart surgery, suggesting they needed potentially 10 new players.

There are arguably four players who head into the pre-season under new manager Erik ten Hag having not done themselves a disservice this season, though even they will still have points to prove.
 

Fred

The United career of Fred has been a peculiar one. It's fair to say even his most-ardent backers would admit he's not exactly been worth the monumental reported transfer fee of £52million.

But in his defence, a lot of his time at United has been spent playing out of position. At no point since he joined have the club had a world-class defensive midfielder, meaning he's very often been shoe-horned into that role.

And it rarely takes long for his glaring inadequacies in such a position to come to the surface. First and foremost, his awareness of what's around him is poor, and that's arguably the nightmare situation for someone playing a role in which you expect to receive the ball under pressure just outside your box.

The 2021-22 season still had a bit of that for Fred, but crucially there were more signs of him operating more functionally as a 'number eight', rather than a six, and while few would consider him to be an outstanding passer, it's in this role where his excellent work rate and generally solid technique become much more of an asset to the team.

Among United players to feature for at least 500 minutes across all competitions this season, only Diogo Dalot (2.9) attempted more tackles than Fred (2.7) on a per-90-minute basis, while just three players engaged in more duels than the Brazilian (11.7). He also ranked behind only three for passes into the final third (7.5).

Now, perhaps perception plays a part in what many would consider a decent season for Fred, meaning his low performance level in the past suggests his improvement is exaggerated. But as long as he's not playing as a six again, expect Ten Hag to find a use for him.
 

David de Gea

Few would disagree with the suggestion De Gea's level dipped significantly a few years ago, but there were some positive signs in the 2021-22 season, almost as if he had reacted to the scare of seeing Dean Henderson get some game time in 2020-21.

In fact, his 2.8 goals prevented was the second-best score in the Premier League, highlighting how good his shot-stopping was.

Over the course of the campaign, only Illan Meslier (143) and Kasper Schmeichel (131) managed more saves than De Gea (128). This obviously proves just how unreliable the defence in front of him was, because no team of their stature should have such a busy goalkeeper.

For example, Ederson faced just 60 shots, which was the fewest of any goalkeeper to play over 1,600 minutes.

But despite De Gea generally enjoying a positive season when it comes to bailing United out, there remain plenty of fans and critics who feel the club could still do better than him.

Under Ten Hag, it would seem likely there will be a greater reliance on keeping possession, and this could be where other options are considered.

While De Gea's own-half passing accuracy of 88.2 per cent doesn't sound alarming, there were 12 goalkeepers (minimum 500 minutes) with better records, while the 96 and 95 per cent posted by Ederson and Alisson, respectively, show a significant gulf.

Similarly, in the same group of goalkeepers, De Gea ranked 18th (out of 26) for long-pass accuracy (33.1 per cent). The gap to Ederson (59.3 per cent) and Alisson (48.1 per cent) is even more pronounced.

Of course, a goalkeeper's primary function is to prevent goals, but if yours is completely out of sync with the team's style, then that's automatically an area where you're not maximising potential.
 

Cristiano Ronaldo

When Ronaldo's return was confirmed last year, there was an awful lot of noise around whether he was right for United.

People claimed that, despite his goals, Ronaldo made Juventus a less functional team because he didn't offer enough outside the penalty area.

Those suggestions never quite went away at United either because, regardless of how effective he proved to be in the box, the team in general played below expectations for practically the entire season.

It's impossible to say whether a different striker with a broader arsenal would have turned United into a better team, but given how deep their issues run, it seems a little unfair to pin the blame on Ronaldo.

After all, goals win football matches – he certainly did his bit. Across all competitions, he scored 24 goals at a rate of one every 132.9 minutes. Only Jamie Vardy (131.6 mins), Mohamed Salah (129.5 mins) and Riyad Mahrez (122.1 mins) netted with greater frequency among Premier League players (min. 50 shots).

Similarly, only Salah (31) and Harry Kane (27) scored more than Ronaldo, though each of them had at least an extra 800 minutes on the pitch than him.

Ronaldo's 24 makes him one of only six players to net at least 20 goals in a single season for United since Alex Ferguson retired, with Bruno Fernandes and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (both 28) plundering the most in that span.

Surely Ten Hag won't discard him?
 

Anthony Elanga

There was an expectation Elanga was going to play a reasonable amount of football this season, such had been his progress in the United youth sides.

But he didn't feature in a single Premier League game until Ralf Rangnick's first match in charge at the start of December. Before then, he'd had one brief cameo in the EFL Cup before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer promptly forgot about him again.

As it happened, Elanga proved to be a bit of a Rangnick favourite. Even though a lot of his appearances were from the bench, no outfield player featured in more games for the interim manager than the speedy forward.

Rangnick clearly liked Elanga's pace, attitude and work rate, and he did chip in with three goals. Granted, that was hardly an outstanding number, but over the same period only Ronaldo (12) and Fernandes (five) managed more.

His nine chances created was a pretty poor return, but again, only Ronaldo (84) and Fernandes (67) attempted more shots than the Sweden international (27), so he was offering something in attack.

There's undoubtedly a lot of room for improvement there, and he'll need to sharpen up from a creative sense if he's to have a long-term future at the club, but he's clearly in a stronger position than 12 months ago.

Portugal boss Fernando Santos does not know what else can be said about Cristiano Ronaldo after his starring role in Sunday's Nations League win over Switzerland.

The veteran forward bounced back from being benched for Thursday's opener against Spain with a brace as he led the hosts to a 4-0 rout in Lisbon.

The result maintained an unbeaten start to the latest iteration of the competition for Portugal - and further underlined the vital role their captain plays in their success.

Speaking afterwards, Santos - who together with Ronaldo delivered Euro 2016 glory six years ago - admitted he has no further words to describe one of the game's greatest figures.

"I don't know what else to say," Santos said. "I will repeat that he is the best player in the world.

"What more can I say? I think it's all been said."

"I'm a coach who's happy when I win and when the team plays like they've practiced," Santos added to SportTV of Portugal's overall performance.

"After the first few minutes, we got the ball back and controlled the game. We could have done one or two more in the first half.

"In the second half the pace dropped, [but] the players are not machines. We scored another goal.

"Switzerland created some problems, but we always found the right solutions. It's more to Portugal's credit."

 

Cristiano Ronaldo gave an emphatic reminder of his value to Portugal as he fired them to a 4-0 victory over Switzerland in the Nations League.

The veteran forward and captain was rested to the bench for his country's opener with Spain on Thursday, forced to make do with a half-hour cameo in the 1-1 draw.

But the Manchester United star sent a searing message of his indispensability to coach Fernando Santos on his return to the starting line-up, bagging a double after setting up the opener for the hosts at Estadio Jose Alvalade.

For Murat Yakin's Swiss visitors, a second defeat of the Nations League in as many games leaves them facing a tough remaining schedule, after losing to the Czech Republic last time out.

It could have been so different though, after a lively start in Lisbon looked to have thrown up a wretched start for the hosts when Haris Seferovic prodded in from close range amid a crowded box.

Portugal were let off the hook, however, when VAR intervened to deem Fabian Schar had committed a handball infringement in the build-up from Xherdan Shaqiri's corner.

After that early scare, Santos' side sought to impose themselves and were rewarded on the quarter-hour mark when William Carvalho tapped home the rebound after Ronaldo's free-kick was pushed out.

From there, Ronaldo unfurled his instinct for hitting goals in rapid succession, first doubling his side's lead with a smooth strike from Diogo Jota's cut-back in the 35th minute, before adding a second for himself four minutes later with a tap-in.

The captain almost had a hat-trick before the break, steering an effort wide, and even as the goals dried up after the interval, he remained a potent marshal for Portugal's steady hold on the encounter.

With a three-goal cushion a bridge too far for Switzerland, the visitors proved particularly toothless in response. When Joao Cancelo struck in the 68th minute, what little resistance the Swiss had displayed perished as the hosts steered themselves to a resounding victory.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been named Manchester United's Player of the Year for a record-equalling fourth time after a productive first season back at the club.

The Portugal international returned to Old Trafford in September and made an instant impact with two goals on his second debut against Newcastle United.

He went on to score 18 goals in the Premier League this season, a tally only Mohamed Salah and Son Heung-min – who both played five games more – could better.

Ronaldo scored 24 goals in 38 appearances for United in all competitions, including age-defying hat-tricks against Tottenham and Norwich City in the league.

Having claimed five Player of the Month awards at United last term, the 37-year-old was crowned the club's Player of the Year on Saturday, equalling David de Gea's tally of four wins.

The award is voted for by supporters, whereas the Players' Player of the Year accolade – won by De Gea earlier this week – is decided by United's players.

Ronaldo was previously named United's Player of the Year in 2003-04, 2006-07 and 2007-08, before spending nine years with Real Madrid and three seasons at Juventus.

Fernando Santos insists he had no problem in leaving Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench as Portugal played out an "interesting result" in their Nations League opener with Spain.

Alvaro Morata fired Spain into a 25th-minute lead with his 26th strike in all competitions for his country, becoming the joint-seventh highest scorer in La Roja's history alongside Emilio Butragueno.

Ronaldo was introduced after the hour mark but it was fellow substitute Ricardo Horta who made the difference.

Horta popped up at the back post with eight minutes remaining to coolly convert Joao Cancelo's low, whipped cross from the right flank, snatching a 1-1 draw for Portugal in Seville.

Santos, speaking after the game, was quick to defend his decision to name Ronaldo among the substitutes, while he hailed the performance of his side on the road.

"There is no management at all. Management will be done in every game. Here too. It seemed to me that this was the best solution for the start of the game," Santos told Sport TV.

"A different team [Portugal], in terms of work and positioning of field, with different things. This seemed to be a good solution and I had Cristiano whenever I needed to get him on the field.

"I already knew that. It's a normal structure."

He added to RTP3: "Thank God. I'm very happy, despite being sad about the result, I'm very happy because a Portugal draw with Spain is just an interesting result.

"Of course, it's not a good result for us, but still good for us, for the working of this group, which leads people to believe that we can do more."

Portugal host Switzerland on Sunday in their next Group A2 game, while Spain visit Czech Republic on the same day.

Son Heung-min can count himself unlucky after the Tottenham star missed out on a nomination for the PFA Player of the Year.

Spurs forward Son scored 23 Premier League goals in the 2021-22 season, sharing the competition's Golden Boot award with Mohamed Salah.

The Liverpool talisman is included on the list of six nominees, alongside team-mates Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane.

Son's strike partner Harry Kane does make the cut, while Kevin de Bruyne is the sole representative of champions Manchester City.

His team-mates Bernardo Silva and Rodri may also consider themselves hard done by, having both enjoyed wonderful campaigns.

Cristiano Ronaldo could not take Manchester United into the Champions League on his return to the club, but his 18 league goals have seen him receive a nomination.

The PFA also confirmed the list of nominees for the Young Player of the Year award, with City attacker Phil Foden joined by Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka and his club-mate Emile Smith Rowe.

That trio will go up against Chelsea pair Conor Gallagher, who shined on loan at Crystal Palace this season, and Reece James, as well as Aston Villa's Jacob Ramsey, for the award.

Erik ten Hag says Cristiano Ronaldo is part of his plans, but the new Manchester United manager has yet to decide if Harry Maguire will remain captain next season.

Former Ajax boss Ten Hag was appointed as Ralf Rangnick's successor last month on an initial three-year deal and officially started work at Old Trafford on Monday.

Ten Hag takes over on the back of United's worst ever Premier League season in terms of points, with 2021-22 their fifth successive campaign without any silverware.

The Dutchman has a number of pressing issues to deal with, not least Ronaldo's future and the wider debate over who should skipper United.

Ronaldo scored 24 goals in 38 appearances for United in his first season back at the club, which is 13 goals more than next-best Bruno Fernandes.

Indeed, aside from Ronaldo and Fernandes, no other United player made it into double figures for the campaign in all competitions.

Despite netting some vital goals for the Red Devils, Ronaldo's place in the side has been questioned due to his work off the ball.

But asked at his unveiling news conference whether the Portugal international has a part to play under him next season, Ten Hag responded: "Of course".

Probed on what he expects Ronaldo to bring to the side, Ten Hag simply replied: "Goals".

Ronaldo captained United at times this term when regular skipper Maguire was absent, with some questioning whether the defender should hand over the armband permanently.

Rangnick previously suggested it should be down to the players to vote on who captains United from next season, though Ten Hag is expected to have the final say.

The 52-year-old, who guided Ajax to three Eredivisie titles in his four full seasons in charge, gave little away when commenting on the situation on Monday.

"Next season is a different season," he said. "Harry's done a good job and he's a great player. 

"He's achieved a lot and has contributed a lot to Manchester United, so I'm looking forward to working with him."

While Ronaldo and Maguire look set to play a part in United's latest new chapter, Ten Hag is expected to oversee a big overhaul in the coming transfer window.

"I'm still in the process of analysing, to set conclusions," Ten Hag said of United's transfer business.

"But I'm looking forward to working with the players I have. The season before, this squad was second in the league, so there is huge potential.

"I think if we improve, if we work with them, I think we can get out more than what was the result from this season."

Ralf Rangnick acknowledges Cristiano Ronaldo is "not a pressing monster", as he admitted compromising on his preferred style of play during an underwhelming six months as Manchester United's interim manager.

Rangnick will take charge of his final United game at Crystal Palace on Sunday before moving into a consultancy role with the club, while reports suggest Ronaldo will not feature at Selhurst Park after suffering a hip flexor issue. 

The 37-year-old has scored 18 Premier League goals since returning to Old Trafford at the beginning of the campaign. Despite United enduring a woeful season under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Rangnick, that represents his second-most prolific campaign in the competition after 2007-08 (when he scored 31 times as the Red Devils won the title.)

However, several commentators have pointed out the Portuguese striker's lack of off-the-ball work is an awkward fit with Rangnick's preferred high-intensity pressing style.

United rank just 12th among Premier League sides for possessions won in the final third this term, with 162, some way short of Liverpool (278), and Manchester City (231), the two highest-pressing sides in the division.

The Red Devils also rank 12th for possessions won in the middle third of the pitch, with 851, with Rangnick struggling to instil a high-octane style at Old Trafford.

While praising Ronaldo for his goalscoring prowess, Rangnick acknowledged that pressing has never been Ronaldo's forte, hinting he may have made too many compromises on his coaching style during his time in charge. 

"Cristiano Ronaldo, and I'm not blaming him at all, he did great in those games. But he's not a pressing monster," Rangnick told a press conference ahead of the trip to Palace.

"He's not a player, even when he was a young player, who was crying, shouting, 'hooray, the other team has got the ball, where can we win balls?'

"The same with quite a few other players, so we had to make some compromises at one stage, maybe we made a few too many – that's also possible."

Rangnick has also been critical of United's lack of January transfer activity in the past, revealing this month that the club's board overruled his desire to sign another striker in January.

Earlier this month, the former RB Leipzig boss said: "I spoke to the board and said: 'shouldn't we at least speak and try and analyse if we could get a player either on loan or as a permanent deal?' But in the end the answer was no."

However, as Rangnick prepares to make way for Ajax boss Erik ten Hag, he reassured United's fanbase that they can expect arrivals in the upcoming transfer window.

"We spoke about the last transfer window in January where we and the board decided not to sign any players, but this is different now," Rangnick added.

"In this summer window there will be some new players and Erik will also have some influence on which kind of player he wants.

"That will happen in this window and hopefully the next two windows, and I think it's obvious to everybody, for the owners, the board, and every supporter, we need to increase and raise the level of quality within the squad."

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