Manchester United ‘warn wantaway Cristiano Ronaldo that he MUST travel on their pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia this week’ after the striker’s bombshell demand that the Red Devils let him leave this summer
The Portuguese star stunned Old Trafford on Saturday by handing in a transfer request, frustrated both by the lack of new signings and bewildered by the club’s decision to appoint three managers in quick succession after the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The Red Devils, who returned to pre-season training at the start of the week following a disappointing sixth place finish last campaign, jet off on a two-and-a-half week tour on Friday.
Cristiano Ronaldo ‘has been told by Man United that he must travel on their pre-season tour’
However, in the latest twist United have told Ronaldo that he must travel with the squad and complete pre-season even if he ends up leaving this summer, according to the Mirror.
New boss Erik ten Hag will first lead his side in a friendly against rivals Liverpool in Bangkok before travelling to Melbourne to face Crystal Palace, and later Perth to play Aston Villa.
Ronaldo, 37, has played 19 consecutive seasons in the Champions League, becoming the tournament’s all-time top goal scorer with 141 goals.
No player in history has featured in more Champions League matches than Ronaldo (183) as well.
The 37-year-old forward’s wish to leave is driven by his desire to play in the Champions League
United’s hitman is reportedly keen to take his tally of consecutive Champions League seasons to 20 and move to a fresh European giant in pursuit of silverware.
It is believed a source close to Ronaldo said: ‘Next season will be the first time he won’t play in the Champions League.
‘He needs to play in the competition – it’s what drives him to produce his best, hence why he wants to move.’
Although Bayern Munich have stepped out of the running until the sale of Robert Lewandowski to Barcelona has been finalised, Chelsea and Napoli have reportedly expressed interest.
Erik ten Hag will lead the Red Devils in their pre-season tour of Australia and Thailand in July
However, as it stands, United are prepared to keep the unsettled striker, who has one year left on his £500,000-a-week deal.
The club are meanwhile close to making their first signing, with Feyenoord defender Tyrell Malacia flying in for a medical.
United have had to work hard to land Malacia, as the 22-year-old had looked set for a move to Lyon.
The Ligue 1 club had agreed a deal with Feyenoord for the full back, before United gazumped their offer.