Transfer request: Man U warns Ronaldo
Manchester United has ordered Ronaldo to report for pre-season tour in spite of his request for a move away from the club
Cristiano Ronaldo has been told by Manchester United that he MUST be on their pre-season tour this week – despite his desire to leave the Premier League club in the near future.
According to the Mirror, Ronaldo is set to return for pre-season training this week, after dropping a bombshell on United that he wants out after just one season back at Old Trafford in which they finished in sixth spot in the table.
United begin a two-and-a-half week tour of Thailand and Australia on Friday under new boss Erik ten Hag, with Ronaldo told by the club he is expected to be in the travelling squad.
Ronaldo informed United of his desire to leave following their failure to qualify for the Champions League. Their sixth place finish last season has consigned them to the Europa League. The Portugal superstar, Ronaldo, has played 19 consecutive seasons in the Champions League, where he remains the competition's top goalscorer (141) and the player with the most appearances (183).
Ronaldo wants to make it 20 seasons in a row in the Champions League, with Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Napoli all having expressed interest in signing him from United.
A source close to Ronaldo said: "Next season will be the first time he won't play in the Champions League. He needs to play in the competition - it's what drives him to produce his best, hence why he wants to move."
A deal with Bayern could involve their 33-year-old striker Robert Lewandowski – who has 344 goals in 375 appearances for the German champions - going the other way to United. Lewandowski, however, is said to favour a move to Barcelona, which would leave Chelsea as the favourites to sign Ronaldo, although United would be unwilling to sell to a domestic rival.
Chelsea, Bayern and Napoli are all said to be willing to structure a performance-related pay package for Ronaldo, who is currently on £500,0000-a-week by United and reluctant to take a pay cut.
New Manchester United boss, Erik ten Hag, is said to have no objections to Cristiano Ronaldo leaving Old Trafford but the club's public stance is that Ronaldo is not for sale, with the club keen to stress he has another year left on his contract, which they say they expect him to fulfil.
Privately, however, there is an acceptance at United that it would be detrimental to new boss Ten Hag to keep Ronaldo against his will, with all the unwanted distractions that would bring.
Ten Hag wants to implement his playing style and philosophy as quickly as possible, and that will be undermined and overshadowed by an ongoing transfer saga involving Ronaldo's future. While ten Hag stressed his desire to work with Ronaldo when the new boss was officially introduced by United on May 23, the latest development sees a likely parting of the ways.