Erik ten Hag's speech to Man Utd squad on Cristiano Ronaldo emerges amid stand-off

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Erik ten Hag's speech to Man Utd squad on Cristiano Ronaldo emerges amid stand-off

Erik ten Hag referenced Cristiano Ronaldo’s ‘family reasons’ when touching on the absence of the Manchester United star, according to reports. The

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Erik ten Hag referenced Cristiano Ronaldo’s ‘family reasons’ when touching on the absence of the Manchester United star, according to reports. The Portugal international is eager to leave Old Trafford for a team playing in the Champions League. And his future is currently uncertain as a result, with the Red Devils still adamant he isn’t for sale.

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Ronaldo was a rare positive for United last season, scoring 24 goals across all competitions after returning from Juventus on transfer deadline day. Yet he’s now looking to leave Old Trafford, with the 37-year-old eager to play in the Champions League as he approaches the latter years of his career.

Chelsea appear to be frontrunners in the race to land Ronaldo, while links to the likes of Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain have all arisen as well. And The Athletic have now revealed how Ten Hag reacted to news of his prized asset wanting to leave the club at the beginning of his reign.

It’s stated that, when the Dutchman ‘couldn’t ignore the elephant in the room’, he referenced Ronaldo’s ‘family reasons’ when telling the squad why he wasn’t attending training this week. The Portugal international is believed to be dealing with an off-field matter and the club have accepted his explanation to this point.

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The Portugal international has always been professional, even when he’s wanted to leave United in the past – like he did when Sir Alex Ferguson ruled the roost.

And they’re adamant he won’t be allowed to leave, having not originally intended to sign a new centre-forward this summer.

Erling Haaland had once been considered but, after a woeful campaign under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick, the Red Devils never realistically stood a chance of snapping him up.

And though United did court Darwin Nunez, the 22-year-old’s preference was always a move to Liverpool instead.

Whether Ronaldo gets his wish of a move away from the Red Devils this summer is something only time will tell.

But it appears his mind is made up and United are now dealing with yet another unwanted problem as they prepare for the start of the new season.

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Rio Ferdinand, meanwhile, has spoken out on the Ronaldo situation and claimed his desire to leave is understandable.

“Anyone who wants to win football matches or trophies, anyone who is used to winning and competing every year at the top of the table for the biggest prizes, and then all of a sudden isn’t – and doesn’t even qualify for the Champions League – you can’t sit here and expect them to be happy,” he said.

“He’s not happy with missing out on the Champions League, he doesn’t even know what the Europa League soundtrack sounds like!

“When that comes on, he’s going to be thinking ‘what dance am I in here?’”

And he added: “I’ve been seeing people being a touch disrespectful, the way that people are questioning ‘he’s not here’ and the hysteria surrounding it.

“A member of his family is not well, so he’s not at training.

“This is the most consummate, most professional athlete that we’ve seen on these shores. The most professional athlete we’ve seen for over 15 years and people are questioning this guy’s professionalism and why he’s not at the training ground.

“Yeah he might want to leave, he might not be happy with certain things at the football club, but in terms of professionalism, this guy is training where he is – we’ve seen the pictures.

“His family are there, he needs to be where they are and you have to respect that. Simple as.

“Could it have been communicated better by the club? Probably.”

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