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Erik ten Hag "really happy" to have Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United

Ten Hag
© Reuters
Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag says that he is "really happy" to have Cristiano Ronaldo at the club.

Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag has said that he is "really happy" to have Cristiano Ronaldo at the club and is continuing to plan for the attacker to remain at Old Trafford this season.

Ronaldo is believed to have told the Red Devils at the start of July that he wants to depart the club this summer, and he was not involved in their pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia due to a personal issue.

The Portugal international played 45 minutes of last Sunday's friendly with Rayo Vallecano, but he is still said to be determined to leave before the end of the transfer window.

Ronaldo left Old Trafford before the end of the clash with Rayo, and Ten Hag admitted earlier this week that the attacker did not have permission to depart before the contest had finished.

"There were many more who went home. (So you condoned that?) Certainly not. It's unacceptable, for everybody. I tell them. That it is unacceptable and that we are a team, so a selection. That you have to stay until the end," he told Viaplay Sport Nederland.

Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag pictured on July 30, 2022© Reuters

During Friday's press conference ahead of Sunday's clash with Brighton & Hove Albion, Ten Hag insisted that "many players" left before the end of the friendly in an attempt to bring the focus away from Ronaldo.

"Now I have to point [out], there were many players who left, but the spotlight is on Cristiano and that's not right. That is what I said is not correct. So I think, do your research and [report] that many players left," Ten Hag told reporters. "He was part of it but, again, it was a lot of players."

Ten Hag also said that he is "really happy" to have the 37-year-old at the club and continues to plan for him to stay for the entirety of the campaign.

"How do I feel about starting the season with Ronaldo? I'm really happy," he added. "I had told you before: we planned with him for the season. We have a top striker and I'm really happy he's here, he's in the squad and we stick to the plan."

Ten Hag had allegedly been planning to name Ronaldo on the bench against Brighton, but Anthony Martial's hamstring problem could mean that the forward is included in the first XI.

Manchester United's Anthony Martial pictured on July 12, 2022© Reuters

Ronaldo scored 24 goals and registered three assists in 37 appearances for Man United last season, but a disappointing campaign for the club saw them finish down in sixth spot in the Premier League table.

The club's absence from the 2022-23 Champions League is believed to be one of the main reasons why he wants to leave Old Trafford in the current window.

Ronaldo has been training with Man United this week ahead of the clash with Brighton, but a number of clubs, including Atletico Madrid, Napoli and Sporting Lisbon, continue to be linked with his services.

Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea were linked with the Portuguese earlier this summer, although all three clubs are believed to have ruled themselves out of the running for his signature.

Ronaldo, who is believed to have been upset by Ten Hag's comments regarding his departure from the Rayo clash, has another 11 months left to run on his deal in Manchester, with the option of an additional year.

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Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo in action against Rayo Vallecano on July 31, 2022
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