The Cristiano Ronaldo saga at Manchester United has taken another turn as the Portuguese icon, who was expected to return to the club today (July 4), is set to miss this day of training.
This comes after the 37-year-old legend informed the Red Devils that he wishes to leave Old Trafford after the team's dreadful 2021/22 campaign which ended in a failure to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, sparking panic among the fan base.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner, who – despite his undeniable talent – is in the final years of his career, wishes to be challenging for trophies during what little time he has left at the top of his game. Unfortunately, with Erik ten Hag having just arrived at the club, Cristiano does not believe his current employers can challenge for serious silverware as they will be undergoing transition under the Dutchman.
As a result, Ronaldo's failure to report for training today raised several eyebrows. The Real Madrid icon was expected to return on Monday, alongside every other player who reported for international duty, but the Portugal national team captain was a no-show at Carrington.
But what was the reason for his absence? Is the Old Trafford no.7 attempting to force an exit by going on strike? The official explanation refuted those suspicions as Ronaldo missed out on Monday's training due to family reasons, which was reported to the club and accepted.
Confirmed. Cristiano Ronaldo to miss return to Manchester United training today "due to family reasons", club have accepted this explanation. #MUFC— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 4, 2022
Man United are aware of his desire to leave the club - but insist on their position: not for sale, want to keep him. pic.twitter.com/Tzj40IidtU
Nonetheless, Manchester United fans who wish to see the iconic attacker remain at the Theatre of Dreams won't be filled with confidence by that explanation. Regardless, the club have no desire to let the 37-year-old go and look to retain his services while focusing on addressing other key positions in the summer transfer window, namely the center-back, midfield, and right-wing roles.
There have been links with Chelsea and Bayern Munich, but at this point, there doesn't appear to be many concrete opportunities for Cristiano. Despite this, Jorge Mendes, the player's super agent, is said to be working on finding Ronaldo a new club.