MANCHESTER UNITED expect Cristiano Ronaldo to leave when the January transfer window opens, according to reports.
Ronaldo has started each of United's last four games but it appears Erik ten Hag is happy to let him leave at the beginning of next year.
Much was made about the striker's future over the summer and he is expected to leave with his contract up at the end of the season.
But Red Devils chiefs expect his departure will happen sooner, according to Sky Sports Germany reporter Florian Plettenburg.
The journalist adds that a return to Sporting Lisbon could be an option for Ronaldo.
Sporting expressed an interest in signing CR7 in the summer but United refused to sell.
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Sporting were also concerned about Ronaldo's wage demands, which was another reason why the move failed to materialise.
However, the Portuguese giants are now preparing a new offer to put to the Red Devils in January.
The Lions will request that United hand the five-time Ballon d'Or winner a pay-off on a chunk of the £500,000-a-week wages he secured when he returned to Manchester in 2021.
Ronaldo was said to be open to a switch to Napoli but the Serie A leaders have rejected the 37-year-old again, having also said no in the summer.
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Marseille have also ruled out a move for the striker after being linked and that leaves Ronaldo short of options once more.
Despite that United are preparing for Ronaldo's exit by targeting Bayern Munich striker Eric Choupo-Moting.
The club has reportedly inquired about the 33-year-old's availability with his contract expiring next summer.
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