Cristiano Ronaldo is not for sale and Manchester United expect him to remain at Old Trafford, despite reports linking the Portuguese star with a sensational move to Chelsea.
United’s failure to qualify for the Champions League and lack of signings so far this summer has led to reports that Ronaldo may want to leave.
His agent Jorge Mendes met Chelsea’s new co-owner Todd Boehly last week and Ronaldo was mentioned during the meeting, but new United manager Erik ten Hag has confirmed that Ronaldo is part of his future plans.
Ronaldo returned to United last summer, 12 years after originally leaving the club for Real Madrid, and netted 24 goals in 38 games to finish as the club’s top scorer in all competitions.
United finished sixth in the Premier League and failed to lift a trophy for the fifth successive season, but Ronaldo pledged his loyalty to the club earlier this month.
He will be 38 when his United contract runs out next summer.
Speaking in an interview with the club, Ronaldo said: “I was happy, of course, to be back in a club that really raised my career, so it was unbelievable, the feeling when I came back again. It was nice to feel the supporters – the happiness of them was great.
“I was and still am very happy to be here, and what I have to say to the fans is they are amazing. Even when we lost games, they always support us, they always are with us. The supporters are always in my heart and it’s the people that we all should respect because they are always on our side.
“For me, the most important thing is to try to win the games and try to win some championship or some cup, but I believe that Manchester will be where they belong. As I say before, sometimes it takes time but I still believe.”
Ten Hag swiftly announced that he was eager to keep Ronaldo after being unveiled as the new United manager.
Asked if Ronaldo fits into his project, Ten Hag said: “Of course.”
On what Ronaldo will bring, he simply added: “Goals!”
Pressed on whether he was looking for leadership from Ronaldo, he said: “I talk first with Ronaldo before I talk with you.”
Ronaldo had welcomed the arrival of Ten Hag, insisting the Dutchman can secure more silverware for the club.
“I know he did a fantastic job for Ajax and that he’s an experienced coach but we need to give him time,” said Ronaldo. “Things need to change the way he wants.
“I hope we have success of course because if you have success all of Manchester are going to have success as well. So I wish him the best.
“We are happy and excited, not only the players but the supporters as well. I wish him the best and let’s believe that next year we’re going to win trophies.”
Sporting’s Viana rules out summer move for Ronaldo
Hugo Viana has revealed Sporting Lisbon will not be making a summer move for Ronaldo, but left the door open for a return in the future.
The club’s sporting director said that will not happen in this transfer window, but refused to rule out the prospect of signing the five-time Ballon d’Or winner in the future.
Speaking to Sky Sports News’ Pete Graves at the Sir Bobby Robson Celebrity Golf Classic in the Algarve, the former Newcastle midfielder said: “I think not now. I don’t think that will be possible. You never know – he can decide where he wants to go.
“You never know the future. When we speak about Cristiano it’s quite different. He has one more year left on his contract, so whatever he decides, we’ll see.”
‘Obsessive Ronaldo wants CL football’
Portuguese football expert Pedro Sepulveda to Sky Sports:
“When the transfer window is open, it’s normal that we talk about Cristiano Ronaldo. Manchester United are not in the Champions League next season and Ronaldo is unhappy about this.
“He is completely obsessed with playing in the competition so he’s not living well with the reality that he’s not going to be playing in it in the immediate future.
“He’s spoken to his agent Jorge Mendes, who is seeing if there are any other options. He said he would speak to the clubs who are targeting winning the Champions League to see what could be done in terms of a change in this summer transfer window.
“You can forget the English clubs – Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham – as I’m 100 per cent sure Ronaldo will not play for another club in England, while Ronaldo doesn’t fit into the new project at PSG.
“It leaves Bayern Munich as an option. There wasn’t an interest from Bayern but Mendes spoke with them and posed the question – ‘what do you think about buying Ronaldo for next season?’ Bayern were a little bit confused when Mendes offered them Ronaldo as he’s not the type of player they’d usually look for.
“When an agent offers Ronaldo, you only need to look at the sporting performance – not the age. Ronaldo has a salary of around £25m so it’s not easy for any club to afford. Mendes has asked Bayern about what they think.
“A swap with Robert Lewandowski isn’t an option as he either stays or goes to Barcelona. These are just rumours at this stage, and it’s normal when it comes to Ronaldo.”
“The last piece of the puzzle.” That is how Jose Mourinho described Manchester United’s Europa League final win over Ajax in May 2017. United were, he pointed out, now a club that had won every trophy in the world of football.
The victory that night in Stockholm was supposed to be the beginning, not the end. It may have been their third trophy of the season – as Mourinho memorably gesticulated with his fingers – but it had also been what he described as his most difficult season as a manager.
United muddled through at times, finishing sixth in the Premier League. But back then even a spluttering version of the red machine seemed capable of churning out silverware. Louis van Gaal had been sacked with the FA Cup plonked right in front of him.
There was an acceptance that United needed to improve and an assumption that they would. Instead, the fifth anniversary of that win came and went but it remains the club’s most recent trophy. Liverpool have won six since then. Manchester City have won 11.
How has that happened? How has it been allowed to happen? It is a tale of hubris and self-harm, a club hindered by too many voices and too few. From ownership to recruitment, the problems were myriad. The solution? It is unclear whether that has yet been found.
With five years now having passed since United’s last trophy, we look at how and why it went wrong for a club that had once been synonymous with success…
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