Erik ten Hag's first training session as Man Utd boss
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Manchester United are not expected to hit Cristiano Ronaldo with a fine over his absence from pre-season training at Carrington this week, according to reports. The Portuguese forward is said to be keen on leaving United before the new campaign begins and fuelled additional speculation over his immediate future when he failed to report with the rest of Erik ten Hag’s squad as expected on Monday morning.
Ronaldo was granted special permission to delay his return to United due to ‘family reasons’ and is yet to inform club chiefs as to when he will come back to Manchester in advance of next season. The 37-year-old will escape the threat of a fine, though, with United not preparing to chase any disciplinary action due to the reason for his approved absence, according to The Times.
It is claimed that United still have no idea when Ronaldo will return to first-team training as they prepare to leave for their pre-season tour of Thailand later this week. Their plane is set to depart on Friday but it remains to be seen whether Ronaldo will join the rest of his United team-mates on the journey to Asia as things stand.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner had originally expressed a desire to be part of Ten Hag’s rebuild at Old Trafford, according to reports, but is now said to be eyeing a move away from United over the coming weeks. He is reportedly frustrated over their failure to qualify for the Champions League at the end of last season, while the club’s lack of progress in the summer transfer window has also been a source of frustration for the striker.
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United are thought to be hell-bent on keeping Ronaldo, who scored 24 goals in all competitions over the course of last season, until the expiry of his contract in just under a year’s time. His sudden exit would undoubtedly leave the Red Devils in need of a suitable replacement and it remains unclear who they would target at this stage, with Paulo Dybala and Robert Lewandowski having recently been mentioned as early alternatives.
Ronaldo was able to force a move away from Juventus using absentee tactics last summer, though, and could well end up getting his way at United if they decide to soften their stance on his future over the coming days and weeks. Red Devils legend Gary Neville has already urged his former employers to deal with Ronaldo’s situation as a matter of urgency in order to avoid snowballing an unwanted transfer saga before the start of next season.
“The only important factor with the Ronaldo situation is that it’s dealt with decisively and quickly,” tweeted Neville earlier this week. “This can’t be a saga that takes the focus away from Erik ten Hag’s bedding-in period for the next two months.”
A number of clubs have been credited with an interest in Ronaldo ahead of the new campaign, with Chelsea and Bayern Munich said to be among the sides keeping a close eye on proceedings as they continue to develop at Old Trafford. A potential move to Barcelona has also been touted as a surprise option in recent days, while a reunion with former Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho at Roma could be another choice for Ronaldo if reports are to be believed.
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