Man Utd dealt new Ronaldo blow in transfer saga
Football fanatics in Thailand are set to be disappointed by reports that Cristiano Ronaldo will miss the first leg of Manchester United's pre-season tour.
The Red Devils fly out to southeast Asia on Friday, yet Ronaldo will not be among their number, as confirmed by a club spokesperson to the Manchester Evening News.
"Cristiano Ronaldo will not be part of the Manchester United party scheduled to depart for our preseason tour of Thailand and Australia on Friday. He has been granted additional time off to deal with a family issue," the spokesperson said.
"Cristiano remains under contract with Manchester United for another season and he is not for sale," it was added.
The Portuguese forward did not report for the first day of preseason training under new boss Erik ten Hag on Monday and has not been seen at the club's Carrington complex all week.
Citing family reasons accepted by the club as being behind his absence, this same issue means that Ronaldo will be granted additional time off while he has been spotted turning up at the Portugal national team's facilities in Lisbon.
Prior to his no-show, Ronaldo effectively handed in a transfer request last weekend when telling the club to listen to reasonable offers for him from rival outfits in a bid to play Champions League football.
While United are adamant that Ronaldo, who has one year left to spare on a two-season deal, will not be offloaded, other reports have claimed that they are willing to listen to offers as they don't want to keep the 37-year-old on their books against his will.
Chelsea and their new owner Todd Boehly are said to have concrete interest in the ex-Real Madrid star, although German giants Bayern Munich appear to have ruled themselves out of the race.
"As much as I appreciate Cristiano Ronaldo as one of the greatest [footballers ever], a transfer would not fit into our philosophy," club legend and CEO Oliver Kahn told Kicker this week.
Transfer speculation and Ronaldo's reported family reasons mean there are no certainties that the five-time Ballon d'Or winner will make the Australia leg of United's tour either.
United play bitter rivals Liverpool in Bangkok on July 12, and then fly south to take on the Melbourne Victory at the MCG on July 15, Crystal Palace also in Melbourne on July 19, and Aston Villa in Perth on July 23.