Cristiano Ronaldo will reportedly once again seek a departure from Manchester United during the January transfer window if he remains out of the Red Devils' starting XI.
ESPN's Rob Dawson reported Tuesday that Ronaldo, who unsuccessfully tried to secure a move to a Champions League club over the summer, is "desperate to make the most of his last years at the top" after falling behind Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial at United.
Questions were raised about how Ronaldo would respond after being unable to leave Old Trafford ahead of the 2022-23 season, but sources told Dawson the superstar's "attitude to training and games has been exemplary" early in the term.
Yet, it's far from an ideal situation for the 37-year-old forward to spend most of his time on the United bench at this latter stage of his storied career.
Only one of Ronaldo's six Premier League appearances this season was a start, and that came back on Aug. 13 against Brentford in a humiliating 4-0 loss for the team. His only goal of the club campaign came in the Europa League against Sheriff Tiraspol in a 2-0 win on Sept. 15.
So, while it's not a surprise he'd prefer a move to a side where he'd be more involved, United may once again hold firm in its desire to keep him as depth.
Manager Erik ten Hag is reportedly "reluctant to let him leave in January" because the club isn't expected to have transfer funds to sign a replacement until next summer.
The amount of interest in Ronaldo come January will likely depend heavily on his performance with Portugal at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, where he'll take on a far more important role than he's played for United as of late.
Last month, the Seleção captain said he planned to continue playing international football for the foreseeable future.
"I hope to be part of the Federation for a few more years," Ronaldo told reporters. "I still feel motivated; my ambition is high. I'm in a team with young people. I want to be part of this World Cup and the  European too; I'm going to assume that right away."
A strong showing in Qatar could lead to offers from some UCL sides looking to bolster their attacking groups for the season's second half, especially with a condensed schedule due to the in-season World Cup, but it would still be up to United whether to make a deal.
So far, there's no indication Ten Hag is ready to move on from the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.