Cassano calls Ronaldo to retire

Cristiano Ronaldo


Former Italy forward Antonio Cassano has called for Cristiano Ronaldo to retire or risk becoming a regular substitute following his recent struggles.

Ronaldo has started just one league match this term under Erik ten Hag at Manchester United, but was on the teamsheet for both of Portugal’s Nations League games during the current international break.

His place in the national team is now being questioned, though, as he failed to score in either match and missed a number of chances against Spain on Tuesday.

Portugal lost that match 1-0, meaning they failed to qualify for the semi-finals of the Nations League and Cassano feels Ronaldo is no longer reaching his usual high standards, and should call time on his career.

“At this point, Cristiano should do himself a favour and understand that if you don’t reach a certain level, you should close the shop,’ Cassano told Cabine Desportiva.

“He won everything, he was a phenomenon. Stop! You have to stop or you’ll only run into the bench.”

Ronaldo holds the world record for number of goals in international men’s football, having scored 117 times for his country.

Portugal do now have an array of attacking options, though, including Rafael Leao and Joao Felix who were both left out of Fernando Santos’ latest starting line-up.

The United forward is highly unlikely to hang up his boots before the World Cup in Qatar which is less than two months away, but whether he could now have a more restricted role at the tournament remains to be seen.

Resolving his issues at club level may also determine how long he carries on playing for.

His game time has been limited this season, and Marcus Rashford is reportedly in line to return from injury to play in the Manchester derby on Sunday which could leave Ronaldo watching from the bench once more.

The 37-year-old told United that he wished to leave Old Trafford in the summer transfer window, but was unable to find a Champions League club that wanted to sign him, and ended up staying with the Red Devils.

He has since found it difficult to rediscover his best form, and Cassano has suggested that his time at the top level could be coming to an end.