Ronaldo has been pushing to join a club who are playing in the Champions League this season but his agent, Jorge Mendes, has been unable to strike a deal with some of the top clubs in Europe including Chelsea, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
The 37-year-old played just 45 minutes of United’s pre-season campaign and now looks set to feature in their opening Premier League fixture against Brighton on Sunday following an injury to Antony Martial.
But Rooney believes United should offload his former teammate before the transfer window closes and sign a new striker who is part of Erik ten Hag’s long-term plan.
‘United are doing everything to bring Frenkie de Jong in and they could certainly do with a midfielder. A No. 9 too,’ Rooney said in his column for The Sunday Times.
‘I think United should let Cristiano Ronaldo go. It’s not that Ronaldo can’t play in a Ten Hag team. He can play in any team. Ronny will always score you goals.
‘But my personal view is that United aren’t ready to challenge for the title now, so the aim has to be to build a team that can win the league in the next three to four years, and you have to plan for that.
‘If the reports are true that Cristiano wants to leave the club, then United should allow him to go and get a No. 9 in who is going to be there for the next three or four years and really help them build a team that can be successful. Ten Hag has to be given time to do it.
Rooney also claims Ten Hag has already had a positive impact on the mood at United’s training ground.
‘I was at Carrington at the start of United’s pre-season, speaking to a few of the players and Steve McClaren,’ Rooney said.
‘I know one thing Ten Hag has tried to change is the day-to-day environment, and that has been a real positive for everyone.
‘When Ralf Rangnick was in charge a lot of the players found it difficult to come to terms with the lack of structure to the week and Ten Hag has addressed this.’
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