Cristiano Ronaldo is flying back to England on Monday as he prepares for showdown talks with Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag. United are back at Carrington on Tuesday after their largely successful pre-season tour, and Ronaldo’s decision to return to the country is considered a ‘positive sign’ within the club.
The 37-year-old striker is travelling back to England for crunch talks with United, in which he’s set to meet Ten Hag in person for the first time, The Athletic report. Despite informing the club of his desire to leave this summer, the club have firmly maintained that he isn’t available for transfer and will play an important role in the 2021/22 season.
Ronaldo will hold face-to-face talks with Ten Hag in the coming days as United step up their preparations for the start of the new campaign in less than two weeks. Whether he will join the Dutchman’s squad for training at Carrington on Tuesday remains to be seen, but his decision to return to Manchester is deemed a positive sign by those inside the club.
The report adds that figures close to the situation believe it’s increasingly likely Ronaldo will remain at Old Trafford for the second and final year of his contract. But his future will become significantly clearer after he’s met Ten Hag, who repeatedly insisted throughout United’s pre-season tour that Ronaldo was part of his plans and not for sale.
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The Portugal international missed the tour due to ‘family reasons’ amid his desire to depart United less than 12 months after re-joining from Juventus. In his absence, the Red Devils shone in Thailand and Australia, winning three of the four fixtures, including a 4-0 rout against Liverpool, and drawing the other, scoring 13 goals.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo has remained in Lisbon while his agent Jorge Mendes has scoured Europe for potential escape routes. He’s held talks with Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain, but all three have played down their interest, and Atletico Madrid recently emerged as his most likely destination.
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Ronaldo’s efforts to leave have been fuelled by United’s failure to qualify for this season’s Champions League, a competition he has made his own throughout his illustrious career. He highlighted his eagerness to remain in the Champions League by rejecting an offer from Saudi Arabia worth over £200million across two years.
Given the Old Trafford icon’s lack of match sharpness, Ten Hag could have a selection headache if he makes himself available for the Premier League opener against Brighton & Hove Albion. Especially mixed with the scintillating form of Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial during pre-season.
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