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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag outlines plan for Cristiano Ronaldo return



Ronaldo and Erik ten Hag

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag was unable to provide a return date to training for Cristiano Ronaldo but clarified he would be “integrated” back into the squad.

Ronaldo has not reported for pre-season training due to a family issue and has missed the entirety of United’s pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia

The team returns to Manchester next week and face Atletico Madrid in Oslo on July 30 and Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford the following day but it is unclear if Ronaldo will be available for selection.

It emerged two days before Ronaldo was expected to return to United’s Carrington training complex on July 4 that the 37-year-old wanted to leave the club but a realistic taker has not emerged.

When asked for an update on Ronaldo, Ten Hag replied: “No. It’s the same as last week. Of course, concerning is maybe not the right word (over his absence).

“I focus on the players who are there and they are doing really well. They are in good shape and I have further focus on that and develop that. I cannot wait for him to come in and then we will integrate him.”


One of Ten Hag’s predecessors, Louis van Gaal, repeatedly lamented the commercial interference of United’s pre-season tour of the United States in 2014 and complained about their four-match schedule.

Van Gaal advised Ten Hag not to join United as they were a “commercial club” but Ten Hag sees positives in United flying to two different continents to prepare for the upcoming campaign.

“I think it’s part of football nowadays and you have to accept it as a manager, as a team, and you have to get the best out of it and that’s what we did,” Ten Hag added.

“It’s great for the team spirit, for so long we are together and we can improve that and develop that. You have a lot of time to work on the team because you are so close together. It’s great to have the experience to come to nice cities, Bangkok, Melbourne, Perth, not every day we’re coming here.

“There are also disadvantages, it’s clear, but you’re a professional and you have to deal with certain tings that are decided where you don’t have an influence on. But you have influence on your game and that is our focus point.”



Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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