Cristiano Ronaldo is not for sale and Manchester United expect him to remain at Old Trafford, despite reports linking the Portuguese star with a sensational move to Chelsea.
United’s failure to qualify for the Champions League and lack of signings so far this summer has led to reports that Ronaldo may want to leave.
His agent Jorge Mendes met Chelsea’s new co-owner Todd Boehly last week and Ronaldo was mentioned during the meeting, but new United manager Erik ten Hag has confirmed that Ronaldo is part of his future plans.
Ronaldo returned to United last summer, 12 years after originally leaving the club for Real Madrid, and netted 24 goals in 38 games to finish as the club’s top scorer in all competitions.
United finished sixth in the Premier League and failed to lift a trophy for the fifth successive season, but Ronaldo pledged his loyalty to the club earlier this month.
He will be 38 when his United contract runs out next summer.
Speaking in an interview with the club, Ronaldo said: “I was happy, of course, to be back in a club that really raised my career, so it was unbelievable, the feeling when I came back again. It was nice to feel the supporters – the happiness of them was great.
“I was and still am very happy to be here, and what I have to say to the fans is they are amazing. Even when we lost games, they always support us, they always are with us. The supporters are always in my heart and it’s the people that we all should respect because they are always on our side.
“For me, the most important thing is to try to win the games and try to win some championship or some cup, but I believe that Manchester will be where they belong. As I say before, sometimes it takes time but I still believe.”
Ten Hag swiftly announced that he was eager to keep Ronaldo after being unveiled as the new United manager.
Asked if Ronaldo fits into his project, Ten Hag said: “Of course.”
On what Ronaldo will bring, he simply added: “Goals!”
Pressed on whether he was looking for leadership from Ronaldo, he said: “I talk first with Ronaldo before I talk with you.”
Ronaldo had welcomed the arrival of Ten Hag, insisting the Dutchman can secure more silverware for the club.
“I know he did a fantastic job for Ajax and that he’s an experienced coach but we need to give him time,” said Ronaldo. “Things need to change the way he wants.
“I hope we have success of course because if you have success all of Manchester are going to have success as well. So I wish him the best.
“We are happy and excited, not only the players but the supporters as well. I wish him the best and let’s believe that next year we’re going to win trophies.”