Football: Ronaldo not for sale, says United manager ten Hag

Erik ten Hag (right) is still counting on the services of veteran Cristiano Ronaldo. PHOTOS: REUTERS

BANGKOK (AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE) - New Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag said on Monday (July 11) that Cristiano Ronaldo was "not for sale", despite the Portuguese superstar skipping their pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia.

The forward, the Red Devils' top scorer last season with 24 goals in all competitions to win the club's Player of the Year award, missed the start of training with the English Premier League giants last week due to a family issue.

The 37-year-old is said to be unsettled and did not make the plane for the pre-season trip, with reports saying he wants to leave after United's failure to qualify for the Champions League.

But ten Hag, speaking before the Old Trafford club's first pre-season friendly against Liverpool in Bangkok today, is still counting on the services of the veteran.

"We are planning for Cristiano Ronaldo for the season and that's it. I'm looking forward to working with him," the former Ajax Amsterdam coach said.

"I have read it, but what I say is Cristiano is not for sale, he is in our plans and we want success together."

The 52-year-old Dutchman added he had spoken to Ronaldo before the reports emerged last week that he wanted to leave.

"I spoke with him before this issue came up," said ten Hag.

"I had a conversation with him and we had a real good talk."

However, he refused to be drawn on the substance of the conversation, stating that it was "between Cristiano and me".

Ten Hag also confirmed England defender Harry Maguire would remain as United captain despite fierce fan criticism of his form last term.

Ronaldo has reportedly asked to leave as he is unhappy with the club's poor form since his return to Manchester last year - they finished sixth in the English Premier League, condemning them to the second-tier Europa League next season. It will be the first time Ronaldo will not feature in the Champions League proper since 2003 should he not get a move.

Ten Hag arrived at United only in May after finishing his successful spell at Ajax - but faces a huge challenge to rebuild the Red Devils, who have not won a trophy since 2017.

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