Incoming Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag on Monday broke his silence on his plans for Cristiano Ronaldo, amid question marks about the Portuguese forward’s place in the Dutchman’s team.

In an interview with De Telegraaf, ten Hag made it clear that he wanted the 37-year-old striker in his squad, saying, “Ronaldo is a giant, because of what he’s already shown and I think he’s still very ambitious.”

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“Of course I would like to keep him. He’s been very important to Manchester United this year and can produce great statistics,” ten Hag said simply, dismissing speculation that he would try to move Ronaldo on.

Indeed, despite Manchester United having its worse Premier League season till date, Ronaldo has shone brightly for the Red Devils, netting 24 goals across all competitions, including 18 in the domestic league and six in the UEFA Champions League.

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That being said, with ten Hag preferring fast-paced, attacking, possession-based football and likely to invest in Manchester United’s youth in a bid to build a future-proof team, speculation had been rife that Ronaldo would leave due to a lack of game time.

Ronaldo himself, however, appears to be quite excited for ten Hag’s tenure to begin, and recently told Manchester United’s in-house media, “I know that he has done a fantastic job at Ajax, and that he is an experienced coach. But we have to give him time.”

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“Things must change the way he wants. If he does well, all of Manchester United will be successful, so I wish him well. We are all happy and excited, not only as players, but as fans as well. We have to believe that next year we can win titles,” the 37-year-old had said.

ten Hag, who completed his contract with Ajax on Monday, has already begun his tenure as a Manchester United manager and will formally take charge after May 22, when the club play their last game of this season under interim manager Ralf Rangnick.