Quick Bit: Cristiano Ronaldo may have told Manchester United that he wants to leave Old Trafford, but the player confirmed on Instagram that he’ll be suiting up and playing when the Red Devils face Rayo Vallecano on Sunday in a preseason match at Old Trafford.
Cristiano Ronaldo may have asked to be transferred from Manchester United, but he’ll be suiting up for the club on Sunday when the Red Devils host Spanish side Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford in their final test before the start of the 2022/23 Premier League season. The reaction from United’s supporters toward the wantaway forward is sure to be heavily scrutinized.
Ronaldo only rejoined Man United this week after sitting out the start of preseason, including a tour of matches in Australia and Thailand for “family reasons.” In the interim, several reports emerged of Ronaldo’s agent unsuccessfully engaging clubs around Europe in discussions about a transfer.
But new Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has been steadfast that he plans on integrating the 37-year-old Ronaldo into his new playing system despite the controversy surrounding the star’s role in the team’s worst Premier League season in club history.
It was Ronaldo himself who confirmed that he’ll be back playing in a Man United shirt on Sunday, July 31 in the club’s final preseason test against Rayo. He started the match as part of a team of mostly reserve and youth players but, after being substituted at half-time, he and some other players left the stadium before the match was over.
His July 29 claim that “Sunday, the king plays” came in the wake of Ronaldo responding to fans on Instagram that it was “impossible not to talk about me” while accusing the media of depending on using his name to make money.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is reportedly keen to keep playing Champions League football, but United’s sixth-place finish last season relegated them to the second-tier Europa League competition. Despite the player’s stated wish to leave, United’s public stance has been that Ronaldo is not for sale and under contract until June 2023, although there is still one month remaining in the transfer window and plenty of twists left in this saga.
Cristiano Ronaldo latest transfer news and rumours
Ten Hag brands Ronaldo, others ‘unacceptable’ for leaving Rayo game early
United reportedly clarified to the Daily Mail that there was no problem with Ronaldo, or any other players, leaving the friendly draw with Rayo Vallecano early. However, Erik ten Hag appears to have contradicted that stance.
In an interview with Viaplay Sport Nederland and AD, the Red Devils manager was pushed on whether he thought it was okay for players to depart the stadium while the match was still going on.
He replied: “I certainly don’t condone this. This is unacceptable, for everyone. We’re a team, and you have to stay until the end.”
Ronaldo returns against Rayo but leaves match early
Ronaldo started the friendly match with Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford on July 31 as Ten Hag’s first home match in charge of United ended 1-1.
The Portugal star was cheered loudly from the fans despite the speculation over his future. He played the first half before being substituted for Amad Diallo, who went on to score United’s goal.
Ronaldo received criticism for leaving the stadium before full-time, although it was pointed out that he was not the only player to do so.
No Ronaldo in United squad for Atletico Madrid friendly
Ronaldo was omitted from the United squad for the friendly match with Atletico Madrid on July 30.
The Portugal captain was not included in the 21-man group travelling to Oslo, with no clear explanation offered for his absence.
“Some of those absent from the squad will take part in Sunday’s game against Rayo Vallecano, while others are ill or injured,” the Red Devils said in a statement.
New signings Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez were named in the squad for the Atleti match.
United host Rayo Vallecano in a friendly at Old Trafford just a day after the game against Diego Simeone’s side.
Ronaldo hits out at ‘lie’ over Man United exit demands
On July 29, Ronaldo responded to a post by an Instagram user that repeated a report claiming agent Jorge Mendes had been left frustrated by his latest meeting with United officials.
The post claimed former United manager Alex Ferguson had intervened to try to convince the player to stay despite Mendes making it clear he was determined to secure a transfer.
A response from Ronaldo’s official Instagram page read: “Impossible not to talk about me one day. Otherwise the press makes no money. You know that if you don’t lie you can’t get people’s attention. Keep going that one day you got some news right.”
Man United fail to sell Old Trafford stay
Manchester United have failed to convince Cristiano Ronaldo to stay at the club this season, reports The Times.
Both club and player held talks at Carrington this week with new manager Erik ten Hag presenting his plans for the new campaign to Ronaldo.
The 37-year-old, however, remains determined to leave Old Trafford this season so that he can play in the Champions League.
Ferguson pictured at Carrington as Ronaldo and Mendes arrive for talks
Ronaldo and his agent, Jorge Mendes, were pictured arriving at United’s training base on Tuesday, where they are expected to speak with manager Erik ten Hag about the player’s future.
Former United boss Alex Ferguson was also seen arriving at Carrington. Ferguson had a good relationship with Ronaldo during his first spell at Old Trafford from 2003 to 2009 and is said to have played a key role in convincing the forward to rejoin last year.
Of course, Ferguson could try again to intercede when it comes to Ronaldo’s plans, but the Portugal star was not the reason for his visit on July 26. According the Manchester Evening News, Ferguson was present at the training centre for a football board meeting, not for any direct involvement in Ronaldo talks.
Whether Ronaldo resumes training with the first team remains to be seen. United are expected to play a behind-closed-doors friendly with Wrexham in the coming days before their next official preseason match against Atletico Madrid in Oslo on July 30.
“You know that if you don’t lie, you can’t get people’s attention,” a seemingly angry Ronaldo retorted to reporters in his Instagram response after one fan account relayed a claim that Mendes is “less than positive” about his star client’s chances of a move.
“Keep going [and] one day you [will get] some news right.”
Ronaldo jets into England for talks with Ten Hag
Cristiano Ronaldo has returned to England for showdown talks about his future with Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag.
According to The Athletic, the 37-year-old arrived in England on Monday but it’s unclear if he will participate in training on Tuesday.
While Ronaldo’s wish to leave the Red Devils hasn’t changed, Ten Hag has repeatedly stated his desire for the Portuguese superstar to remain at Old Trafford and that he isn’t for sale.
Talks between Ronaldo and Ten Hag will undoubtedly start to sort out the summer’s most high-profile transfer saga.
Man United open to loaning out Ronaldo
While Manchester United remain set on not selling Ronaldo this summer, the Mirror reports that the Red Devils may loan their star out willing he returns for the 2023-24 season.
Ronaldo is desperate to play Champions League football and Man United could sanction a short-term move away.
The Red Devils, however, want Ronaldo to trigger a one-year extension on his current contract so that he remains bound to the club beyond this season.
Ronaldo was reportedly surprised by United’s stance but is yet to reject the idea.
Ronaldo willing to take pay cut as Atletico Madrid clarify interest
CBS reporter Ben Jacobs has claimed Ronaldo is willing to cut his wages by up to 30 per cent to secure his next move.
The Portuguese star’s agent Jorge Mendes is reportedly stressing this fact to clubs with Atletico Madrid admitting they aren’t in a financial position to sign the 37-year-old.
Ronaldo is apparently keen on the move but the La Liga side look unlikely to make any offers.
Jacobs also writes that Mendes had offered Ronaldo to Barcelona before they signed Robert Lewandowski.
Erik ten Hag says Ronaldo could stay at Man United longer
While rumors of a desired exit for Ronaldo continue to fly, Man United boss Erik ten Hag has continued to stand firm that the 37-year-old won’t be leaving the club anytime soon.
The Dutchman suggested that Ronaldo’s contract has a player option to extend his stay at Old Trafford through the summer of 2024.
“I am well informed he also has an option [to extend his contract until 2024] no?” Ten Hag said. “Yes, [he could stay beyond this season], but to be honest, of course, I have signed here for three years, and in football it’s short-term as well. We have to win from the start. So I don’t look that far ahead.”
Ronaldo linked with move to Atletico Madrid
According to a report by AS in Spain, there has been contact from Atletico Madrid regarding a possible transfer to the La Liga club. The report states that Ronaldo and his agent Jorge Mendes have convinced Diego Simeone to pursue the superstar, but Man United are still holding firm that he is not for sale.
CBS Sports reporter Ben Jacobs has also given his take on the news, saying that while Ronaldo himself has “real interest” in a move to Atletico Madrid, the club views a potential transfer as “problematic and unrealistic currently.”
Chelsea end interest in Ronaldo
According to reports from the Telegraph, Chelsea have now pulled out of any move to try and bring Ronaldo to Stamford Bridge this summer.
New owner Todd Boehly have reportedly been keen to assess Ronaldo’s situation this summer when he first joined the club, though after speaking to current first team manager Thomas Tuchel, it seems that the German boss would rather use the funds needed to strengthen elsewhere on the pitch.
Ten Hag: Ronaldo not for sale
Erik ten Hag spoke to a news conference on United’s pre-season tour on Monday (July 11) and echoed his club’s reported stance on Ronaldo ahead of the friendly encounter with Liverpool in Bangkok.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is not for sale, he is in our plans — he’s not with us due to personal issues. We are planning with Cristiano Ronaldo for this season, that’s it”.
Ten Hag also stated Harry Maguire will remain as United captain, despite the England centre-back’s performances coming in for sustained criticism last season.
Kahn rules out Bayern deal for Ronaldo
As Ronaldo reportedly missed United preseason training for a third day, one of his potential future clubs appeared to close the door on his arrival.
Bayern Munich CEO told Kicker: “As highly as I rate Cristiano Ronaldo as one of the greatest, a transfer wouldn’t be a fit with our philosophy.”
There has been speculation Bayern could look to sign Ronaldo to replace Robert Lewandowski, who is keen to leave the club.
Ronaldo to miss training for a second day – reports
This week was the first time Ronaldo was due back in training after the close-season break, along with United’s other players who took part in June internationals for their countries.
At the moment, it is unclear when he intends to return and United leave for their tour of Thailand and Australia on Friday.
Barcelona enquiry opens up familiar Ronaldo trick?
As you would expect in the current climate, Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes is a busy boy. Madrid-based sports daily AS reported he held discussions with Barcelona president Joan Laporta on Monday, with Ronaldo on the agenda alongside fellow Gestifute clients Bernardo Silva, Rafael Leao and Ruben Neves.
Real Madrid’s all-time record goalscorer and Lionel Messi’s eternal rival rocking up at Camp Nou? Surely not? Well, if we cast our minds back to last year, perhaps this one comes from a familiar playbook. Ronaldo was reported to be on the verge of joining Manchester City before United sprung into action, partially motivated by how unpalatable it would be to see Ronaldo playing on the other side of town.
Florentino Perez: do they have your attention?
Chelsea interested in signing Ronaldo
David Ornstein of The Athletic reported on July 4 that Chelsea were among the clubs interested in signing Ronaldo from United.
It emerged last month that the forward’s agent, Jorge Mendes, had met with new Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly and that a possible transfer was discussed.
The Blues’ new ownership group are thought to be intrigued by the idea of signing a player with Ronaldo’s global appeal, and finances are not likely to be an impediment. However, manager Thomas Tuchel would likely need to give his blessing to any such deal: the German coach could not get the best out of club-record signing Romelu Lukaku, and he was loaned back to Inter Milan.
It would also seem unlikely United would want to sell Ronaldo to a Premier League rival.
Ronaldo stays away from Man United training for ‘family reasons’
United’s players who were involved in June internationals were due to return to training with their club teammates on July 4, but Ronaldo was not among their number.
However, the club insists this is nothing untoward and moved to avoid further stoking transfer speculation
According to reports in England, Ronaldo could not return on Monday due to “family reasons”, something the club accepted.
It is unclear at this stage whether Ronaldo will fly with United for their pre-season tour to Thailand and Australia on Friday. According to The Athletic, the forward’s presence on that trip is seen as “non-negotiable”.
Dybala on United’s radar as a Ronaldo replacement
As is customary when such a transfer bombshell drops, attention quickly turns to who the replacement might be.
La Repubblica is reporting United have made contact with the representatives of one of Ronaldo’s former Juventus teammates.
Paulo Dybala is a free agent after his contract expired at the Allianz Stadium last month. The 28-year-old Argentina international scored 115 goals in 293 appearances for Juve, but his injury record over recent seasons leaves plenty to be desired.
Inter Milan, Arsenal and Tottenham have all been linked with his services, although the respective moves of Romelu Lukaku, Gabriel Jesus and Richarlison to those clubs might create an opportunity for United to appear a more attractive option.
Cristiano Ronaldo style of play: How would he fit in under Erik ten Hag?
Ronaldo’s delayed return to training has denied him the opportunity to sit down with Ten Hag and discuss where he fits into his plans. Of course, this might be a conversation he has no interest in being a part of at this stage.
The Athletic reported that Ralf Rangnick was keen on the idea of moving Ronaldo on last January, given he was suited to neither long-term planning nor a high-pressing style.
Although the differences between Ten Hag and Rangnick are handily highlighted by the fact the latter never took on his proposed consultancy role at Old Trafford, those particular concerns would still apply if the Dutchman is to successfully implement the swashbuckling style of football he oversaw at Ajax.
Nevertheless, at his unveiling press conference in May, Ten Hag said he looked forward to working with Ronaldo.
“Of course,” he replied when asked whether Ronaldo would be part of his United project. He refused to elaborate further, aside from adding that the veteran would bring “goals”.
Premier League 2022/23 TV channels, live streams
UK: Matches are carried across Sky Sports and BT Sport streaming and TV platforms, with select matches on Amazon Prime.
USA: Select matches are televised on USA Network (English) and Telemundo or Universo (Spanish), and all three channels can be streamed on fuboTV. The rest of the matches are streamed on NBC platform Peacock for subscribers.
Canada: Every Premier League game streams live and on demand exclusively via fuboTV.
Australia: Fans in Australia can stream matches live and on demand on Optus Sport.
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