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Erik Ten Hag Say About Cristiano Ronaldo Amid Manchester United Exit Links (Details below)

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Manchester United’s pre-season preparations have been thrown into jeopardy following reports over the weekend that Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave the club in this summer’s transfer window.

It was reported by The Times that the Portuguese international wants to leave Old Trafford in pursuit of Champions League football. Furthermore, the report stated that Ronaldo has informed United of his decision and that he wants to be granted an exit if the club receives a ‘satisfactory offer’.

Ronaldo, who is not expected to report back to Carrington for pre-season training today [Monday] ‘due to family reasons’, returned to United from Juventus almost a year ago. He scored 24 goals in all competitions in his first season back in M16, meaning he was one of very few positives last season.

Although the club has failed to qualify for the Champions League for the forthcoming campaign, United were always confident that they would keep hold of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner. They reiterated, once again, over the weekend that he is not for sale.

But should they be forced into letting go of the 37-year-old this summer, it would be a huge blow for new manager Erik ten Hag in more ways than one. Not only would he be losing the best player at the club, but he would also be left with a squad without a recognised striker, following Edinson Cavani’s exit earlier this summer.

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Ten Hag, before he had even stepped foot in England, waxed lyrical about Ronaldo and hinted at just how much he was looking forward to working with one of football’s all-time greats.

“Ronaldo is a giant, because of what he’s already shown and I think he’s still very ambitious,” Ten Hag told De Telegraaf in May. “Of course I would like to keep him.

“He’s been very important to Manchester United this year and can produce great statistics.”

On a separate occasion, once again before he had arrived in England, Ten Hag sat down to conduct one final interview with Ajax’s in-house media team. During the interview, a video montage was put together and shown to the Dutchman, capturing the highlights of his time in charge of the Dutch giants.

One of the still images included in the video was one of him talking to Ronaldo during a Champions League tie between Ajax and Juventus in 2019. It evoked fond memories for the Dutchman.

“That was an interesting chat,” Ten Hag said. “I think he could appreciate the way we played. He’s a true winner and a magnificent player. I can’t wait to work with him.”

Upon his arrival in Manchester, Ten Hag, as expected, was quizzed on Ronaldo’s future in his first United press conference. The former Ajax chief did say too much about the former Real Madrid star, but he said enough to prove that he valued him as an important player in his plans.

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