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Messi is the reason for Ronaldo’s Man Utd decision, says ‘suspicious’ ex-Chelsea star

"Cristiano Ronaldo y Linier" by Jan S0L0 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Tony Cascarino has offered a fresh twist behind CR7’s alleged desire to leave Old Trafford.

Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave Manchester United to protect his Champions League goal record from Lionel Messi, according to former Chelsea striker Tony Cascarino.

As first reported by The Times newspaper on Saturday, Ronaldo has asked Manchester United to let him leave if an appropriate offer arrives on the club’s doorstep this summer.

The 37-year-old wants to continue playing in the Champions League, a competition United failed to qualify for last season. The Red Devils will instead compete in the Europa League for 2022/23 after a sixth-place Premier League finish.

Is Messi the reason for Ronaldo’s exit decision?

Now Cascarino has suggested Ronaldo fears a year out of the Champions League may give Messi a chance to overtake his record 141-goal tally.

The Paris Saint-Germain attacker has scored 125 goals in the competition, leaving him 16 goals adrift of CR7.

“Ronaldo is a player, as always, that has an ego,” the former Chelsea striker told talkSPORT.

“A lot of it is about him but the teams he’s played in have been successful, so you always go with that as a team player.

“Great, he scores goals, he gets the accolades, he’s one of the greatest that’s ever played the game. You can have all that and that’s fine, as long as you’re winning. When you don’t win, now you’ve got a problem.

“I’m a bit suspicious because he’s got 141 goals in the Champions League. Messi has got 125. He doesn’t want to not play Champions League football because he wants to be the greatest Champions League goal scorer of all time and that’s how Ronaldo is made.”

Ronaldo also didn’t report back to Manchester United for pre-season training on Monday for family reasons.