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Ten Hag excited to work with ‘giant’ Ronaldo at Man Utd

Cristiano Ronaldo was labelled a “giant” by incoming Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag, who is itching to work with the Portugal great.

Veteran forward Ronaldo returned to United from Juventus on a two-year deal, with the Red Devils retaining an option to extend that by a further 12 months.

Despite scoring 18 Premier League goals in 30 top-flight appearances this term, there have been rumblings Ronaldo could cut short his return at the end of a hugely underwhelming season for the club.

United are sixth heading into their final game of the campaign against Crystal Palace on Sunday.

With defeat gives, West Ham the chance to leapfrog them in the standings.

But Ten Hag, speaking to Dutch publication De Telegraaf, stated in no uncertain terms he is excited by the prospect of working with one of the all-time greats.

“I am looking forward to working with him,” Ten Hag. “Ronaldo is a giant because of what he has already shown, and I think he is still very ambitious.

“Of course, I want to keep him in. This year, he has been essential for Manchester United and can show great statistics.”

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Ten Hag excited to work with 'giant' Ronaldo at Man Utd

Ten Hag has won three Eredivisie titles at Ajax and the KNVB Cup twice and led the team to the Champions League semi-finals in the 2018-19 season.

That success is something United fans will be desperate for him to emulate in Manchester, with the club’s last trophy arriving in 2017.

Ten Hag will have to cope with the level of scrutiny in the UK media from former United players, with the likes of Gary Neville and Rio Ferdinand particularly prominent.

Ten Hag added about outside opinions from former players:

“That has an impact, but it should never influence the dressing room.

“Maybe the criticism is fiercer there. The club has an enormous fanbase and more reach than Ajax because England is much bigger, the Premier League is much bigger, and everything is much more significant.

“Compared to the Netherlands, it’s factor two, three, four or maybe even more. But, fortunately, I’ve been getting more and more baggage on dealing with certain forces.”

Ten Hag also stated that he would begin work with United from Monday.

“We have agreed that Manchester United from 16 May will employ me,” he said. “In preparation for the season, there are still a few things to be done.

“Among other things, regarding the filling of the staff and the composition of the selection. I will make my mark, and that must be done extremely carefully.

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Ten Hag excited to work with 'giant' Ronaldo at Man Utd

“We have to talk carefully about where we all want to go and how we will achieve that. For example, there were possibilities to work at clubs where it is easier because there is a better foundation.

“But I chose United because there’s something to be gained there. So many things need to be addressed, and that’s a challenge. The club and I are on the same page as far as that’s concerned.

“Also, about the way, I want to do it. In what way? I don’t want to say anything about that. I will discuss that in England.”

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