Despite talk of CR7 wanting to leave the club, Ten Hag has refused to rule out a contract extension for his superstar forward.
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has reiterated his plan to keep Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford for the upcoming season, and maybe even longer.
Various reports have claimed that Ronaldo wants to leave United for a Champions League club this summer. He has been linked with several teams, but nothing has happened so far. The latest club tipped to make a move for him is Spanish side Atletico Madrid.
Ten Hag, however, has reminded everyone that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has a clause in his Red Devils contract, which expires next summer, to extend it until June 2024.
“I am well-informed he also has an option [to extend his contract], eh?” the Dutchman said on ESPN when asked how he plans to accommodate Ronaldo for just one season.
“Yes [he could stay beyond this season], but to be honest, of course I have signed here for three years, but in football it’s short term as well. We have to win from the start. So I don’t look that far ahead.
“I have a strategy, it’s a process, it takes time, but in the end we have to make sure from the outset there is a winning team.”
When will Ronaldo return for training?
Because of a family issue, Ronaldo hasn’t traveled with the United squad for their pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia. The 37-year-old continues to train by himself in Portugal. It remains unclear, even to Ten Hag, when exactly he will report back to the club.
“The same status as last week in Bangkok: no change,” the Red Devils coach admitted.
“I cannot tell you [when CR7 will be back at Carrington]. No change in the issue. He is training. I think we all know Ronaldo is a top professional and he will be fit. That is the last concern I have.
“In his career, he has shown everything. I have set my demand. We want to play in a certain way. A top player can contribute and Ronaldo is an absolute top player in our squad. The players dictate the way you play. Especially players who score goals because they are extremely important for a team. You construct your team around them.”
United have four more friendlies coming this summer, starting with Crystal Palace on Tuesday. They’ll also face Aston Villa, Atletico Madrid, and Rayo Vallecano.
Ten Hag’s side will meet Brighton at Old Trafford on August 7 for their Premier League opener.