As Erik ten Hag prepared for his first match as Manchester United’s new manager, it was another topic that drew reporters’interest.
However, the biggest talking point which emerged from his press conference was Cristiano Ronaldo‘s future with the Red Devils. Following the Portuguese’s revelation that he wants to seek pastures new in search of Champions League football, The Old Trafford club have had to field numerous queries regarding their top scorer from last term.
Ten Hag was quick to point out that he sees the five-time Ballon d’Or winner as integral to his plans and wants to work with him to ensure the Reds taste success sooner rather than later.
Erik ten Hag: "I spoke with Cristiano Ronaldo before this issue came up. I had a good conversation with him. He hasn't told me that he wants to leave… I have read. We want success together". 🚨🇵🇹 #MUFC
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 11, 2022
“I have read that he wants to leave, but what I say is Cristiano is not for sale. He is in our plans and we want success together. I’m looking forward to working with him,” the former Ajax manager explained.
Arnold, who replaced the much-maligned Ed Woodward, has been seen by Ronaldo’s entourage as honest and forthcoming while refusing to play along with the media.
Ronaldo saga to continue
The United hierarchy have understood that the Portugal skipper’s family issues need time to heal and have allowed the player to take an extended break.
🚨 Cristiano Ronaldo's camp have been impressed by the way Richard Arnold has handled his request to leave the club.
Man Utd's CEO has been working hard to change Ronaldo's mind, whilst being sympathetic to the reason Ronaldo wants to leave.
(Source: Times) pic.twitter.com/po14AOazVE
— Transfer News Live (@DeadlineDayLive) July 12, 2022
In terms of the United squad, despite only one player arriving so far in Tyrell Malacia, there is restructuring going on which includes players leaving on a free which frees up the wage bill as well as trying to recruit the new manager’s desired targets.
The importance placed on Ronaldo by the board and the new coach have certainly gone down well with Ronaldo & Co.
But that does not mean the player will abandon his attempts to leave. Ronaldo has built a career out of his selfish desire for excellence and that has always been the striker’s biggest positive.
Chelsea and their new co-owner Todd Boehly are enamored with the prospect of bringing the former Real Madrid star to Stamford Bridge but manager Thomas Tuchel is not too keen.
The move, if it happens, will not go down well with countless United fans. And Ronaldo knows this.
“According to friends, Ronaldo’s affection and respect for United’s supporters remains as strong as ever. In addition to wanting to leave on sporting grounds, however, there are personal reasons for leaving Manchester after a difficult period for his family following the death during childbirth of his son,” was how Duncan Castles put it in his report.
Ten Hag has had a good and positive conversation with his new No 7 and is still hopeful that the player will end up staying on.
“He’s not with us due to a personal issue. I spoke with him before this issue came up, I had a good talk with him then. [The talk] is between Cristiano and me, but I can confirm we had a really good conversation together.”
United’s priority should be to try and sort out Ronaldo’s future as soon as possible. Former Red Gary Neville had succinctly summarised it by saying, “The only important factor with the Ronaldo situation is that it’s dealt with decisively and quickly. This can’t be a saga that takes the focus away from ETH’s [Erik ten Hag] bedding in period for the next two months,” Neville tweeted.