Cristiano Ronaldo breaks his silence after asking to leave Manchester United

Cristiano Ronaldo has posted on social media for the first time since asking to leave Manchester United, uploading a picture of himself working out after delaying his return to pre-season.

The 37-year-old has been given permission to stay in Portugal for ‘family reasons’ and has not joined United on their tour of Asia and Australia – which began with a 4-0 win over Liverpool in Thailand.

Ronaldo is believed to have told United’s hierarchy he wants to leave the club, with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner not keen on playing Europa League football this coming season.

He has a queue of suitors lining up to prise him away from Old Trafford, with Bayern Munich, old club Sporting Lisbon, Roma and even Chelsea linked with moves.

United were initially adamant he was not for sale, though that stance is believed to have softened should they receive a fee equivalent to what they paid Juventus a year ago.

Although the Portugal international elected not to return to Carrington to begin preparations for the season ahead, he has made it clear on social media that he is not shirking on his training.

Ronaldo is believed to have been given access to the Portuguese national team’s training HQ, having been spotted at the complex last week.

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And on Thursday he uploaded a picture to both Instagram and Twitter showing him hard at work in the gym, alongside the caption: ‘Hard work.’

Eagle-eyed United fans also spotted that he was wearing the club’s training shorts from last season, giving renewed hope that he is not cutting ties with the Red Devils just yet.

Nevertheless, Ronaldo’s future promises to be the subject of discussion for some time yet – particularly while he is still remaining in Portugal.

United now play three matches in Australia – against Melbourne Victory, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa – before returning to the UK in around 10 days’ time.

It seems unlikely that Ronaldo will fly Down Under to join the rest of his team-mates at this stage.

Reports emerged in his native Portugal on Wednesday evening that he had been offered a two-year, £211million contract to play for an unnamed Saudi Arabian club who were also willing to pay £25m to United – though he would need to forgo Champions League football.

His agent, Jorge Mendes, is also believed to have spoken to Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly about a potential move to west London and there appears to be plenty of movement behind the scenes.

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