Cristiano Ronaldo, who has reportedly signalled his intention to leave struggling Manchester United this summer, failed to show up for training on Monday despite being asked to be part of Erik ten Hag‘s squad for the club’s pre-season games.

United players who had been away on international duty last month returned to training for the club on Monday, July, 4 but the talismanic Ronaldo was absent.

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Earlier, Ronaldo’s compatriot and teammate Bruno Fernandes had told Portuguese paper Record, “I hope to meet him on [July 4] to train there [at Manchester United], I’m not expecting more than that,” when quizzed about the forward’s reported desire to leave United.

The 37-year-old cited “family reasons” for his absence from training according to Manchester Evening News sources, although no other details are known at the time. United, however, have “accepted this explanation” as per the publication.

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While Ronaldo missing a day of training alone isn’t anything alarming, his absence from proceedings could signal the start of a long and drama-laden transfer saga that began a couple of days ago after The Times reported that the 37-year-old had put in an official request to United seeking a move this summer.

Although United have reiterated since then that Ronaldo is not for sale, several reports suggest that he is not content with playing in the Europa League and wants Champions League action instead.

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A United legend, Ronaldo has respect for the club and its fans, but reportedly believes that playing in the Champions League and competing for major trophies will provide him with the inspiration and the incentives he needs to flourish at the end of his career.

ESPN claim that United have told Ronaldo, who has a contract till 2023, to fulfil his obligations to the club and it is not known how the former Real Madrid great feels about it. Meanwhile, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, and Napoli have perked their ears up at the news, and are reportedly interested in Ronaldo, should a move materialise.

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The prospect isn’t a pleasant one for United, who have thus far only managed to acquire the services of Dutch left-back Tyrell Malacia since ten Hag’s arrival. With the club reportedly prioritising the signing of a midfielder – reportedly Frenkie de Jong – this summer, Ronaldo’s departure would put the club’s transfer plans in jeopardy.

A move would also leave United lacking in the attacking department: Ronaldo was by far the club’s biggest goal threat last season, and scored 24 goals in 38 games across all competitions.