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Three-time Ballon d’Or winner backs Ronaldo for key role under Ten Hag

Erik ten Hag, Cristiano Ronaldo
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The Ajax coach will take over at Old Trafford at the end of the season with several high-profile players expected to move on.

Cristiano Ronaldo will remain a key figure under incoming Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag, according to three-time Ballon d’Or winner Marco van Basten.

Ten Hag has signed an initial three-year contract to become the new Red Devils manager. He will officially take charge in the summer and several players, including Paul Pogba and Edinson Cavani, are expected to leave.

Ronaldo’s future is also in doubt. There have been rumors claiming that Ten Hag doesn’t see the forward as part of his plans, although Van Basten has suggested otherwise.

“If Ronaldo carries on playing like he did last week [against Norwich] and scores two or three goals in a match regularly, there is no need to take him out of the team,” the Ajax and AC Milan legend told The Rondo Show.

“Ronaldo is a player who does his own thing, but as long as he delivers, you have to give him a place in the team.

“Ten Hag will take into account that he cannot ask the same things physically from Cristiano Ronaldo that he will be asking of an 18-year-old.

“Of course, Ronaldo will need to work hard – and I am sure he will work hard because I can see Ten Hag having an influence on him to get him to play how he wants.”

Van Basten backs Ten Hag to succeed

The legendary Dutchman, who won the Ballon d’Or three times between 1988 and 1992, also thinks his compatriot has what it takes to be a success at Old Trafford.

In 211 games at Ajax, Ten Hag has won 157 times (D25 L29) and delivered five trophies so far.

Van Basten added: “I will give Erik one piece of advice: don’t listen to the media when you start there.

“He will have such a massive focus on his own job, on his work on the training ground and on the team. And when he does that, I am sure he can change everything at United.”

Ronaldo and Manchester United return to action on Thursday for a Premier League match against Chelsea. Despite home advantage, the Red Devils are the underdogs. Bet365 has a home win priced at odds of 3.25 – which suggests they have a 30% chance of victory at the time of writing.