Ronaldo, a forward from Portugal, has left Manchester United with immediate effect, the club announced yesterday.
The 37-year-old’s departure, which was “mutually agreed,” comes after a contentious interview in which he was critical of Manchester United’s owners, the Glazers, and said he had “no respect” for manager Erk ten Hag.
“The club thanks him for his immense contribution over two spells at Old Trafford,” read a statement from Manchester United. Additionally, they expressed their wishes for “him and his family’s future.”
Martinez, a forward for Inter and Argentina, is the most recent player to be mentioned in connection with the Red Devils’ search for a new striker.
Spanish newspaper Fichajes reports that Manchester United have identified a number of candidates to step in for Cristiano Ronaldo. Argentine striker Martinez is one of the players on the short list.
The 25-year-old, known as “the Bull” in his native Argentina, has been a crucial member of Inter Milan’s squad for the past few seasons and played a key role in their Scudetto victory in 2020–21.
Including eight goals this season, Martinez has 65 goals in three seasons with the Serie A giants club.
According to the Italian publication CMW, Diego Simeone, the manager of Atletico Madrid, is eager to raid Inter Milan for Martinez. Simeone allegedly intends to make offers to Matheus Cunha and Rodrigo De Paul in order to obtain Martinez’s services.
In a previous report, CMW claimed that if star striker Harry Kane left, Spurs would be interested in signing Martinez for £72 million.
The England player’s current contract expires in 2024, and it’s unclear if Kane will extend it.
Manchester United had already been prepared by Erik ten Hag for Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit
By taking chances that came his way unexpectedly, Marcus Rashford launched his career. He has now been given another unexpected chance that could have a big impact on both his and his club’s fortunes at this crucial time in his life.
He made his infamous debut almost seven years ago as a result of a severe striker shortage. On that illustrious occasion, he scored twice, and he did it once more against Arsenal the following game. They claim that the rest is history.
Since making that breakthrough, Rashford has perhaps been unfairly evaluated on his attacking performance while wearing a Manchester United jersey, with his success being largely based on whether or not he has scored a goal during a game.
Rashford was initially only thought of as a temporary stopgap in the attack, but his contributions to the side’s forward line quickly made him indispensable. Although it hasn’t always been about the goals or assists he’s stolen, it has remained the characteristic that has defined him most frequently.
The 25-year-old’s goal contributions have historically been influenced by the other things he has been doing successfully on the field, so it is not a coincidence that the goals have started to flow since he reclaimed his confidence under Erik ten Hag.
With eight goals in 19 appearances under the new United manager, Rashford has already surpassed his goal total from the previous campaign. Not his skill—which he has always had—but rather his general demeanor and the fact that he is now noticeably happier and much more confident on the field are what have changed.
He recently told Sky Sports that “the club and the training ground have a completely different energy.” “That improves my mental state, and I now feel incredibly motivated. That’s where I was having trouble.
“I occasionally struggled with more mental issues. Actually, it wasn’t my performance so much as other factors off the field. The biggest change from last season is that.
“I understand that it is part of your job to comment on what occurs on the field, but as players, we need to prepare mentally for each game.
“Last season, I wasn’t mentally prepared for games far too frequently. I wasn’t shocked by some of the events that were occurring.
Goals are a natural byproduct of everything else Rashford has been doing well on the field this season, and given how reenergized he appears to be, he may be set to gain from Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure this week once more.
United will look to sign a new striker in the January transfer window to help offset his departure, but they will also expect the England international to step up and start performing consistently in a central role.
The quirk of Rashford’s form this season is that only one of his eight goals has actually been scored when he was playing as a designated centre-forward, with all the others coming either when he has started on the left wing or switched there during a match.
Rashford has always shone brightest on the left because it allows him to run at defenders and exploit space with his direct dribbling style, which he rarely gets when used as the spearhead of attacks.
Indeed, the majority of his goals this season have come from counter-attacking opponents, but with his thumping header against West Ham, we saw his raw goalscoring instinct, a player capable of leading the line and being the main man for his side.
Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he reached his peak with 17 goals in 31 Premier League games, most of which came from the left flank of the attack. It’s no surprise that now, as then, he has discovered this potency when playing with freedom and a love for the game that stems from his manager’s careful management.
United should only be in the market for a new striker in the January window if it is a deal that suits them and adds genuine value to the side, and there is no guarantee that will be the case.
What is certain, though, is that Ten Hag will look for more from Rashford to help alleviate the loss of Ronaldo, a challenge that he looks ready for.
Rashford is the short-term striker solution again, and it might be the closest he’s been to being their long-term answer too.