Erik ten Hag: Cristiano Ronaldo is not for sale

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Cristiano Ronaldo is not for sale, according to Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag.

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Ten Hag spoke to the media in Thailand ahead of Manchester United’s ‘friendly’ against Liverpool in Bangkok on Tuesday and was obviously asked about the situation regarding Ronaldo.

The 37-year-old superstar has yet to return to preseason training with United amid reports that he asked to be sold this summer so he can continue to play in the UEFA Champions League.

Speaking about Cristiano Ronaldo, who is not in Thailand due to family reasons, here’s what Erik ten Hag had to say.

What is the latest?

“We are planning with Ronaldo for this season – that’s it. I’m looking forward to working with him,” Ten Hag said.

He was then asked if Ronaldo wanted to leave: “He hasn’t told me this. I have read, but as I say, Cristiano is not for sale, he’s in our plans and we want to get success together. I spoke with him before this issue came up. I had a conversation with him and had a real good talk,” Ten Hag added.

Ten Hag added later in his press conference that United’s priority is to sign players in midfield and attack this summer, while Harry Maguire will remain as United’s captain. So he’s obviously happy with the defenders at his disposal and seemed pretty calm about the Ronaldo situation. A cool head is needed right now.

What now?

This is a game of poker. Who will blink first. Manchester United or Cristiano Ronaldo? United don’t want to sell him (so they say publicly) but our partners in the UK at Sky Sports believe that they are willing to let the legendary forward go if a specific transfer fee is met.

Considering he has just one year left on his current contract, that fee may not be that high but we are talking about Ronaldo here. And maybe, just maybe, Ronaldo will change his mind if other offers don’t materialize as Chelsea, Bayern Munich and others appear to have cooled any interest.

United are letting this situation drag on as they hope that by the time they return from their tour of Asia and Australia they will have Ronaldo back ready to roll, fresh and fired up to lead Erik ten Hag’s new-look side.

The only issue? Ronaldo will have missed all of preseason learning Erik ten Hag’s tactics and may be more than a little miffed he wasn’t allowed to leave. This is a very delicate situation because whatever you think about whether Ronaldo being at United is a good or bad thing in the short-term or long-term, you can’t deny he will deliver at least 20-25 goals this season.