Erik ten Hag has been forced to accept he will have to plan for life without Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of the new season.
The 37-year shocked Old Trafford chiefs by confirming his desire to leave the club less than 12 months after his emotional return from Juventus.
While Ronaldo maintained his superb goalscoring standards last campaign, United endured a miserable campaign which saw them collect their lowest ever Premier League points tally.
The former Real Madrid star has no intention of playing in the Europa League and wants to join a club playing in Europe’s elite club competition next season.
According to The Sun, the Red devils were initially confident they could convince Ronaldo to stay at the club and see out the last year of his contract.
After missing the start to pre-season training due to ‘family reasons’, But, United are now resigned to losing the striker who appears to have little intention of joining the rest of the team for their upcoming tour of the Far East and Australia.
Upon taking the job, Ten Hag made it very clear he was looking forward to working with Ronaldo and was confident he could build a winning team around the player.
He said: ‘Ronaldo is a giant, because of what he’s already shown and he’s still very ambitious. Of course I would like to keep him.’
After talks with United’s key decision makers, however Ten Hag is now resigned to contemplating life without Ronaldo whose agent, Jorge Mendes, is scouring Europe for a club that can match his ambition and afford his wages.
Chelsea are reported to be monitoring his situation closely, but United are unwilling to sell to a domestic rival, while Thomas Tuchel is said to be far from sold on the idea of bringing Ronaldo to Stamford Bridge.
Two of Europe’s biggest teams, meanwhile, Bayern Munich and Barcelona have effectively ruled themselves out of the running.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta said on Wednesday: ‘Ronaldo? I’m not going to talk about players, one way or the other. ‘It doesn’t contribute anything to Barca’s interests and they all deserve respect.’