Cristiano Ronaldo will not travel on Manchester United tour to Bangkok

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Cristiano Ronaldo will not travel on Manchester United tour to Bangkok - AP
Cristiano Ronaldo will not travel on Manchester United tour to Bangkok - AP

Cristiano Ronaldo will not travel with the rest of Manchester United’s squad to Bangkok on Friday afternoon after being granted additional time to deal with a family issue.

The news comes amid growing uncertainty over Ronaldo’s future at Old Trafford after the Portugal forward informed the club he wants to leave.

United maintain that Ronaldo remains under contract for another year and will not be sold but the situation threatens to overshadow new manager Erik ten Hag’s preparations for the new season and a critical summer transfer window for the club.

Sources have indicated that it is unclear at this stage where or when Ronaldo will rejoin the squad.

Ronaldo had been due to report back for pre-season training on Monday but he has been absent all week after United granted him time to deal with personal matters and that period of compassionate leave has now been extended.

It means Ronaldo will not join Ten Hag or his United team-mates on their flight from Manchester to Bangkok, which is scheduled to depart at 4.30pm on Friday, and there are no guarantees at this stage that he will join the tour at a later date.

United are due to play Liverpool in Bangkok on Tuesday before flying to Melbourne for the second leg of their tour in Australia. Ten Hag’s side are scheduled to play matches against Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace in Melbourne before moving on to Perth, where they are slated to face Aston Villa on July 23.

United will then fly home ahead of a game against Atletico Madrid in Oslo a week later and a final pre-season friendly, against Rayo Vallecano, at Old Trafford a day later before they kick off the new Premier League season at home to Brighton on Aug.

Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United celebrates after scoring the 2-0 for his club - Shutterstock
Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United celebrates after scoring the 2-0 for his club - Shutterstock

In April, Ronaldo announced that his baby son had died during childbirth and that only the birth of the child’s twin sister was providing him and his partner Georgina Rodriguez with the strength “to live this moment”.

United are due to launch their new home kit for next season on Friday and sources have indicated that Ronaldo will feature in it, with images of the five-time World Player of the Year expected to be used despite him wanting to leave.

Reports surfaced on Thursday claiming that United will listen to offers close to the £12.9 million they paid to re-sign Ronaldo from Juventus last summer, which led the club to reiterate their stance that the 37-year-old was not for sale.

Chelsea have been offered the chance to sign Ronaldo although the club’s new owner, Todd Boehly, is likely to leave it to manager Thomas Tuchel to decide whether to pursue a deal. Napoli have also been linked but it is unclear how many interested parties could realistically afford to fund Ronaldo’s £40 million a year wages plus a transfer fee.

The absence of Ronaldo is likely to be a disappointment to United’s tour sponsors and also presents a headache for Ten Hag given that pre-season presents a crucial time for the former Ajax coach to impose his ideas on the squad and build fitness. The Dutchman will also be keen to ensure that Ronaldo’s absence does not prove an unwelcome distraction. Gary Neville, the former United captain, has already urged the club to deal quickly and decisively with the matter. “This can’t be a saga that takes the focus away from ETH bedding in period for the next two months,” Neville tweeted.

Ten Hag is hoping to make up to five signings this summer, with Netherlands left back Tyrell Malacia, a £12.9 million purchase from Feyenoord, their only recruit so far, but United have been working on the basis that Ronaldo will stay. It remains to be seen what happens with Mason Greenwood with the striker still on police bail.

Christian Eriksen has agreed to join United but the Denmark playmaker will have to pass a medical before joining up with the squad. United are also in talks with Barcelona to sign Netherlands midfielder Frenkie de Jong and with Ajax over Argentina defender Lisandro Martinez and Brazil winger Antony.

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