Erik ten Hag says ‘Ronaldo not for sale’

Despite missing the preseason tour of Thailand and Australia, new Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag stated on Monday that Cristiano Ronaldo was “not for sale.”

Due to a family matter, Ronaldo missed the start of training with the English Premier League giants last week.

The 37-year-old did not board the plane for the pre-season trip, citing a desire to depart following United’s failure to qualify for the Champions League.

Speaking before the Old Trafford club’s first pre-season friendly against Liverpool in Bangkok on Tuesday, Ten Hag said: “We are planning for Cristiano Ronaldo for the season and that’s it and I’m looking forward to working with him.

“I have read it, but what I say is Cristiano is not for sale, he is in our plans and we want success together.”

“I spoke with him before this issue came up,” said Ten Hag.

“I had a conversation with him and we had a real good talk.”

However, he refused to be drawn on the substance of the conversation, stating that it was “between Cristiano and me”.

Ten Hag is said to have had a video conference with Ronaldo in May as he prepared to officially take over at United, but the Dutchman has not spoken with the Portuguese since his representatives indicated his desire for a transfer.

United are looking for a forward and have increased their attempts to strengthen the attack in the aftermath of the Ronaldo news.

Ten Hag could not guarantee Ronaldo would link up with the United squad in Australia, where they are due to be based for over a week in Melbourne and Perth.

When asked how Ronaldo’s absence could affect United’s plans, Ten Hag said: “The way of playing to develop is a process, takes time, also it’s dependent on the competence of the squad, clear, and how we want to play that is proactive.

“We are working on this and you cannot achieve this in one or two weeks, it takes longer. I cannot tell (on Ronaldo joining tour) as the absence I already explained and that is it for this moment.

“I didn’t speak to him after (the news). His absence personal issue.”

Ronaldo reportedly asked to go because he was dissatisfied with the club’s poor form since his return to Manchester United last year – it finished sixth in the English Premier League, relegating it to the second-tier Europa League the following season.

Last season, Ronaldo scored 24 goals in all competitions and was awarded the club’s player of the year.

Ten Hag also stated that England defender Harry Maguire will continue to serve as club captain!