Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has insisted that Cristiano Ronaldo is in the club’s plans for the 2022-23 season and is not for sale this summer.
The 37-year-old hit 24 goals in 38 games during his first season back at Old Trafford last term, including 18 in the Premier League, but the Red Devils could only finish sixth in the table.
As a result, Ronaldo will be forced to accept Europa League football should he remain at the club, and he has allegedly voiced his desire to leave in the coming weeks.
Ronaldo is said to have been left frustrated at a lack of early transfer activity from club chiefs and believes that the Red Devils are in need of six or seven new signings to compete for honours again.
The Portugal international was left out of Man United’s initial pre-season tour squad due to a personal issue, and his absence from training last week added fuel to the fire surrounding his future.
However, Ten Hag – whom Ronaldo is understood to approve of as a coach – has ruled out the prospect of Ronaldo leaving the club in the current transfer window.
“He is not with us due to personal issues. We are planning with Cristiano Ronaldo for this season. That is it,” Ten Hag told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s pre-season friendly with Liverpool in Bangkok.
“I am looking forward to working with him. Cristiano is not for sale. He is in our plans. We want success together. I had a good talk. That is between Cristiano and me. What I can confirm is we had a really good conversation together.”
Ronaldo’s contract with the 20-time English champions only has another 12 months left to run, but the club possess the option to extend his stay until the summer of 2024.
Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and Sporting Lisbon are among the clubs to have been linked with a summer move for Ronaldo, with Blues’ owner Todd Boehly meeting the attacker’s agent Jorge Mendes to sound out a potential transfer.
However, Man United would not be expected to sell to a direct Premier League rival, and Barcelona’s financial problems could make a move for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner unfeasible.
Ronaldo’s association with Real Madrid may also make it difficult for Barcelona to prise him away from Old Trafford, while PSG would likely have to offload Neymar before signing the former Blancos and Juventus man.
Ten Hag also confirmed that Harry Maguire would remain in possession of the captain’s armband, even though the centre-back came under constant criticism for his performances last season.
“Harry Maguire will be captain. He has been captain for more than a year. He has achieved a lot of success. I have no doubts about this issue,” Ten Hag added.
The Red Devils have only welcomed one new arrival to the club this summer in the form of Tyrell Malacia, but deals for Frenkie de Jong and Christian Eriksen are both still in the pipeline.
“We want to add the right players. We have a really good squad, we are working to develop our way of playing and the opportunity is there and we will strike,” Ten Hag responded when questioned on new signings.
Following Tuesday’s game with Liverpool, Man United will travel to Australia to face Melbourne Victory, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa before subsequent meetings with Atletico Madrid and Rayo Vallecano at the end of the month.