Cristiano Ronaldo remains absent from pre-season training but Manchester United claim the frustrated star is not for sale.
It emerged over the weekend that the 37-year-old had asked to leave Old Trafford if an acceptable offer arrived after a disappointing first season at a club where he won numerous medals between 2003 and 2009.
Ronaldo was conspicuous by his absence on Monday when new manager Erik ten Hag welcomed United’s international players to Carrington for the start of pre-season training.
The club accepted his explanation that he was unable to attend training due to family reasons, which they are still doing as the veteran striker is absent until Thursday.
It’s unclear if Ronaldo will be on the plane when Ten Hag’s side fly to Thailand for the start of their pre-season tour on Friday, but United insist he will be part of the squad this season.
After the club have repeatedly said in recent weeks that Ronaldo is not for sale, their stance remains unchanged despite reports that they are indeed ready to sell the Portugal international.
There appear to be landing spots for the highly paid former Real Madrid forward and the PA news agency understands Chelsea are still weighing their interest.
Fan favorite Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford just last summer, joining from Juventus for a fee of €23m (£19.6m).
Ronaldo scored 24 goals in all competitions and was named Sir Matt Busby’s player of the year, but individual quality did not prevent his first season at United ending without a trophy and finishing sixth in the Premier League.
Europa League football awaits Ten Hag as he begins his rebuild, which will move up a gear when United travel to Thailand to face rivals Liverpool on Tuesday in Bangkok.
United then travel to Australia, where matches against Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace in Melbourne will be followed by a friendly against Aston Villa in Perth.
Ten Hag has only one new face to fall back on so far after United completed the signing of Feyenoord left-back Tyrell Malacia, meaning there are still key areas of the squad that need strengthening.
The club’s well-documented pursuit of Frenkie de Jong continues and is said to have been complicated by Barcelona, who owe the Netherlands international wages.
Christian Eriksen has verbally agreed to a three-year deal and the Old Trafford giants have a strong interest in Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez.
Talks have been brewing over Ajax winger Antony, while fellow Brazilian Andreas Pereira is set to be on the move from Old Trafford.
Fulham have seen their offer of an initial £8m and a further £2m in potential add-ons for the 26-year-old midfielder accepted by United.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/premier-league/manchester-united-insist-absent-cristiano-ronaldo-is-still-not-for-sale-41822269.html Manchester United insist Cristiano Ronaldo is still not up for sale in absentia