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Cristiano Ronaldo: Manchester United forward absent for first day of pre-season due to family reasons

Cristiano Ronaldo asked to leave Man Utd this summer, which Sky Sports News revealed last week; Portugal forward has not appeared for day one of pre-season due to family reasons, which United have accepted; other United players involved in June internationals came to training on Monday

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Peter Stevenson reports from Manchester United's training ground where Tyrell Malacia has arrived to complete his medical but it appears there may be no Cristiano Ronaldo with his future at the club remaining uncertain

Cristiano Ronaldo was absent when the majority of Manchester United players returned for pre-season training with new boss Erik ten Hag on Monday morning.

The Portugal forward has informed the club he wants to leave this summer in order to play Champions League football.

It's understood his absence from training on Monday was due to family reasons, with United accepting this explanation.

United's position on Ronaldo remains that he has a year remaining on his contract and is not for sale, despite his desire to quit Old Trafford.

Some United players - namely those not involved in international football last month - began their pre-season schedule under Ten Hag last week, but Monday morning saw the rest of the squad, bar Ronaldo, arrive.

"Manchester United wanted this week to mark major recruitment and squad shape progress ahead of tour, yet it'll now be shadowed by the Cristiano show," said Sky Sports News' Melissa Reddy. "A distraction Erik ten Hag and the club don't need and can't let spiral. Decisiveness required."

Cristiano Ronaldo led his team-mates on a lap of honour post-match
Image: Ronaldo has asked to leave Old Trafford this summer

Bruno Fernandes and Raphael Varane were two of the players who arrived at Carrington for 9am on Monday, with the likes of Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Donny van de Beek and Aaron Wan-Bissaka starting training last week.

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Another player also seen on Monday morning was imminent signing Tyrell Malacia, who is set to complete the second part of his medical ahead of his £13m move from Feyenoord. Left-back Malacia will represent the first signing of the Erik Ten Hag era.

Ronaldo asks to leave United

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Michael Bridge reports Cristiano Ronaldo has asked to leave Manchester United but the club insist he has another year on his deal

Ronaldo wants to leave United this summer amid concerns he will be unable to compete for the biggest trophies at the club.

The 37-year-old feels the urge to win even more in the twilight of his career, but is understood to feel that may not be possible at Old Trafford next season. The 2021/22 campaign was the fifth in succession in which United failed to win a trophy.

Ronaldo is also understood to be concerned that United are yet to make any improvements to the squad in the current transfer window. Thirteen players have left the club this summer but none have yet arrived.

Ronaldo respects United a lot - especially the fans - and is said to be "in love" with the club, but this coming season will be the first in his career in which he will not play Champions League football if he stays at Old Trafford.

The Portugal international has never played in the Europa League - which United will be in next season - and last played in its predecessor, the UEFA Cup when he was at Sporting Lisbon in the 2002/03 season.

But while Ronaldo is keen to leave, United have taken the stance that he is not for sale and expect him to see out the remainder of his contract, which expires in the summer of 2023.

Where is Ronaldo and who can afford him?

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Portuguese football expert Pedro Sepulveda says a desire to win another Champions League is the main reason behind Cristiano Ronaldo's desire to leave Manchester United.

Portuguese football expert Pedro Sepulveda speaking on Sky Sports News:

"Ronaldo was in Lisbon last Friday. He is staying in an hotel - he has many apartments here in Portugal - but he is staying in a hotel and he is training all day in the complex where the Portuguese national team always train. Every day he goes there and does his training, sometimes alone. On Saturday he went with some friends, on Friday he went there alone. He took some pictures with some young Portugal players who stay in that training ground. Yesterday evening, we thought he was going to Manchester to take part in pre-season training but we learned this morning he has some personal terms to take care of.

"The big question now is whether Ronaldo will stay here in Lisbon taking care of these things or whether it is a momentary thing and he will fly to Manchester in the next few days to be with his team-mates and wait to see how the future goes for him.

"I think Ronaldo will stay in Lisbon for a few more days and Jorge Mendes will try and force the transfer for him.

"If you look at the teams that can give Ronaldo a contract, there aren't many. Nor are there many teams who can compete for the Champions League. You have Bayern Munich who have said Ronaldo is not part of their project. In Spain, you have Real Madrid and you can't put Barcelona in the race. Ronaldo will never play for Barcelona and Real Madrid isn't interested in a player like Ronaldo anymore.

"In England is the only place I could see some opportunities - but can you see Ronaldo playing in the Premier League with another shirt that's not Man United? Can he be on another team? You have Liverpool and Chelsea - we already know the new Chelsea owner had a conversation with Jorge Mendes about Cristiano Ronaldo.

"I don't think we have to talk about the financials, look at the money he already has. It's not about the money, it's about the project. Ronaldo can play a season for Sporting Lisbon for not now. He is still at the top level and one of the best players in the world. Not for what he has done, but what he is doing now. I think Sporting Lisbon is a possibility for Ronaldo but not now. Ronaldo will only leave for a club that can fight for the Champions League. Sporting will have to wait but Ronaldo has the desire to play in United States too. It's a possibility in the future but not for this transfer window. These teams are in Ronaldo's head and they're in the fight for him."

Saha: Not a nice situation for United

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Former striker Louis Saha says Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United are in a 'difficult' situation with the Portugal forward asking to leave the club

"I'm more concerned about losing Cristiano Ronaldo [than Manchester United's lack of transfer activity this summer]. Finding a new striker that is going to get you 25 to 30 goals, it's going to be tough. This is something they need to consider for a year.

"When you are a player like Cristiano Ronaldo you want to win the Champions League and break records there. Those are the kind of discussions you have when you're a world-class player with these stats.

"Man Utd as a club is below that level, is not playing well and the manager is new so maybe Ten Hag's plan is a middle-term one and the short-term one for Ronaldo is just one or two years at the top level. That's a conflict in some way.

"I'm not happy with [United fans asking Ronaldo to go] as Ronaldo has done his part. He's provided some terrific performances and he's been a leader and behaved when times were hard and demanding.

"Asking to have consideration in terms of the plan and seeing there are players signing in rival clubs, it's not nice.

"You have to look at other teams, Man City have done business that is really complimentary and fits really well their plan. Arsenal today and other clubs have done their business."

Will Ronaldo stay or leave United?

Speaking at the beginning of June, Ronaldo said he was "very happy" to remain at United and predicted they would rebound from a dreadful 2021/22 season.

But just one month later, the Portugal captain has had a change of heart. Sky Sports looks at the reasons for and against his potential departure.

What challenges await Erik Ten Hag at Old Trafford?
Image: Will Cristiano Ronaldo be playing for Manchester United under Erik ten Hag next season?

Malacia arrives for Man Utd medical | Telles, Williams futures in doubt

Tyrell Malacia arrived at Carrington on Monday morning for the second part of his Manchester United medical.

A package worth around an initial £13m, with a further £1.7m in add-ons and a potential sell-on clause was agreed with Feyenoord for the 22-year-old earlier this week.

United accelerated their interest in left-back Malacia in an attempt to beat Lyon to a deal and the Dutch club recently confirmed a fee had been agreed.

Malacia fits the profile of player Erik ten Hag wants at Old Trafford and he shares an agency - HCM Sports Management - with Frenkie de Jong; the club's premier target this summer. The same agency also represents Donny van de Beek and Victor Lindelof.

Telles, Williams futures in doubt

With Malacia's move nearing completion, United may now consider offers for left-back Alex Telles.

Telles has two years left on his contract and United have the option to extend for a further year.

United will also discuss Brandon Williams' immediate future. All parties will discuss whether his development is best served by staying at the club - or going out on loan to get regular football.

Williams made 26 Premier League appearances on loan at Norwich City last season.

Analysis: Who is imminent new signing Malacia?

Tyrell Malacia

Sky Sports football journalist Sam Blitz:

"Erik Ten Hag was known for his attacking philosophy at Ajax with some slick passing - Malacia fits the bill in these two areas of the pitch.

"Going forwards, the 22-year-old completed more shots and take-ons than any other defender in the Eredivisie last season. To put it more simply, Malacia can beat his opposite man and has experience of producing the end product required.

"The Dutch international is comfortable on the ball too. Only Ajax's Daley Blind touched the ball more times and completed more final third passes than Malacia out of all the Eredivisie defenders. Malacia's six completed through balls is also a divisional high for defenders in the Dutch top-flight.

"And all this attacking play is backed up by some solidity at the back. No Eredivisie-based left-back completed more tackles than the 22-year-old last season, while only title-winning Blind managed to take the ball off opponents more times in the middle and attacking third than Malacia - which hints at a pressing mentality from the Dutchman."

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