Manchester United insists absent Ronaldo still not for sale

Cristiano Ronaldo remains absent from pre-season training but Manchester United maintain the frustrated star is not for sale.

Over the weekend it emerged the 37-year-old had asked to leave Old Trafford if an acceptable offer arrived after a disappointing first season with a club where he won numerous medals between 2003 and 2009.

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Ronaldo was conspicuously absent on Monday when new boss Erik ten Hag welcomed United international players to Carrington for the start of pre-season training. The club have accepted his explanation that family reasons prevented him from showing up for training, which they still do as the veteran striker’s absence continued on Thursday. It’s unclear whether Ronaldo will be on the plane when Ten Hag’s side travel to Thailand on Friday for the start of their pre-season tour, but United insist he will be part of the squad this season. After repeatedly saying in recent weeks that Ronaldo is not for sale, the club maintain their stance remains unchanged amid reports they are in fact open to selling the Portugal international.

There appear to be landing spots for the highly paid former Real Madrid striker and the PA news agency understands that Chelsea are still assessing their level of interest. Fan favorite Ronaldo only returned to Old Trafford last summer, joining Juventus for a fee of €23m (£19.6m).

Ronaldo scored 24 goals in all competitions and was named Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year, but individual quality could not prevent his first season returning to United ending without a trophy and with a sixth place in the Premier League. League. Europa League football awaits as Ten Hag begins its rebuild, which will kick into high gear when United travel to Thailand to face rivals Liverpool in Bangkok on Tuesday. United then head to Australia, where matches against Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace in Melbourne are followed by a friendly against Aston Villa in Perth. So far, Ten Hag has only one new face to call after United completed the signing of Feyenoord left-back Tyrell Malacia, meaning there are still key areas in the squad which need to be strengthened. The club’s well-documented lawsuit against Frenkie de Jong continues and has reportedly been complicated by the fact that Barcelona owe the Dutch international salary.

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Christian Eriksen has verbally agreed to join, with a three-year contract in the works, and the Old Trafford giants have a firm interest in Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez. Talks have taken place over Ajax winger Antony, while fellow Brazilian Andreas Pereira heads for an exit from Old Trafford.

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