Manchester United’s Erik ten Hag gives one-word verdict on Cristiano Ronaldo at unveiling

Erik ten Hag held his first press conference as the new Manchester United manager, having watched from the stands as the team slumped to defeat at Crystal Palace on the final day of the season

Lawrence Ostlere
Monday 23 May 2022 12:58 BST
Erik ten Hag speaks to the media at Old Trafford
Erik ten Hag speaks to the media at Old Trafford (Getty Images)

Erik ten Hag has confirmed Cristiano Ronaldo is in his plans next season as the Dutchman was unveiled as Manchester United’s new manager.

Ten Hag was speaking at Old Trafford in his first press conference as new head coach, where he set out his hopes to take the club forwards after a disppointing season ended in a 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace on Sunday, which Ten Hag watched from the stands.

One of the few bright spots in a poor season was the performance of Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored 18 league goals and 24 in total. Asked whether the 37-year-old Ronaldo was part of his plans going into the new campaign, Ten Hag simply replied: “Of course.”

When pushed for what he felt Ronaldo could bring to the team, Ten Hag looked suprised by the question. “Goals!” he laughed, before adding: “I will talk to Cristiano [about the new season] before I talk to you.”

And he later elaborated: “Cristiano is magnificent footballer and a true winner, so I can’t wait to start working with him.”

Ten Hag was also asked about United’s struggling captain Harry Maguire, who was dropped by his predecessor Ralf Rangnick at the end of the season. The new manager stopped short of guaranteeing Maguire would keep the captaincy but praised the defender’s qualities.

“Next season is a different season,” Ten Hag said. “He did a great job, he is a great player, achieved a lot with a contribution to Manchester United. I’m looking forward to working with him.”

He added: “The reason [I joined] is, although there is a fantastic history, is the high potential for the future I don’t speak with the players now, they need a break, they need a break to reflect, but I’m looking forward and I can’t wait to start.”

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