Manchester United manager Eric ten Hag has said that Cristiano Ronaldo “is not for sale” and that he is “looking forward to working with him” this season.
The veteran attacker has looked set for a move away from Old Trafford this summer less than a year after he returned to the club in a shock £12.9 million switch from Serie A side Juventus.
Ronaldo is currently absent from United's pre-season tour of Thailand after the 37-year-old was given time off to deal with a personal issue. He also missed the start of Ten Hag's pre-season schedule at the club's Carrington base, training instead at the Portuguese national team's headquarters.
Premier League rivals Chelsea are reported to be interested in signing the Portuguese forward but sources at United have always insisted the player will not be allowed to leave.
And, speaking at a press conference in Bangkok ahead of Tuesday's friendly match against Liverpool, United's new Dutch coach made it clear Ronaldo is in his thoughts for the coming season.
“He is not with us due to personal issues. We are planning with Cristiano Ronaldo for this season. That is it,” said Ten Hag. “I'm looking forward to working with him.”
When asked if Ronaldo had asked to leave the club, Ten Hag added: “He hasn't told me this. I have read, but as I say, Cristiano is not for sale, he's in our plans and we want to get success together.
Manchester United ratings 2021/22 season
“I had a good talk [with Ronaldo before the tour]. That is between Cristiano and me, what I can confirm is we had a really good conversation together.”
After the Liverpool game in Thailand, United fly to Australia and Ten Hag admitted that he does not yet know whether Ronaldo will join up with the squad later in the tour.
Last season, Ronaldo scored 24 goals in 38 games across all competitions and was named Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year, but that wasn't enough to help United secure a Champions League spot as the team finished sixth under the guidance of interim manager Ralf Rangnick.
The thought of playing only Europa League football next season is reported to be the main driving force for Ronaldo eyeing the Old Trafford exit for a second time. He left for Real Madrid in 2009 for a then world record £80m move.