Bruno Fernandes has said he “doesn’t want to be involved in” Cristiano Ronaldo’s continued absence from Manchester United’s pre-season.
The United playmaker and fellow countryman of Ronaldo has said he has been in contact with the Portugal star and checked his family were ok. The 37-year-old striker did not return to pre-season training earlier this month. And he was given permission to miss United’s tour of Asia and Australia dues to a “family issue”.
Ronaldo though wants to leave Old Trafford. A report from The Times claimed Ronaldo’s decision is largely driven by his desire to carry on playing in the Champions League.
He is also said to be concerned at United’s lack of ambition. But United have since added Lisandro Martinez, Christian Eriksen and Tyrell Malacia to their ranks. And club officials are working hard to try and persuade the forward to see out the remaining 12 months on his contract.
“We are planning with Cristiano Ronaldo for this season, that’s it,” said the Dutch boss.
But the Manchester United boss is still waiting for a meeting with Ronaldo and his agent Jorge Mendes to talk over his future.
But with just over two week before United kick off their season at home to Brighton, Fernandes says he is in the dark about his team-mate.
“I don’t know what Cristiano said to the club and to the manager,” said Fernandes. “I don’t know what’s going on in his head, if he wants to leave. And I didn’t ask them that.
“Obviously, Cristiano was our top scorer last season, he added goals to us. But it’s not on me, it’s the club that has to make the choices and Cristiano makes his own choice.
“The only thing I asked Cristiano when he didn’t turn up was if everything was okay with the family. He told me what was going on, that’s it and nothing more.
Bruno comments seen as dig at Ronaldo
“I don’t want to be involved in that. We have to respect the decision of everyone.”
Meanwhile, Fernandes, speaking after Tuesday;s 3-1 friendly win over Crystal Palace, was deemed to have taken a dig at Ronaldo.
United put in an impressive showing, with Ten Hag’s insistence on high-energy pressing clearly evident.
Fernandes said: “The three guys up front [Sancho, Rashford and Martial] are really aggressive in the press. When they press they make the last line squeeze, and makes the midfield come a little bit higher.”
Those comments were interpreted in some quarters to be a thinly-veiled dig at Ronaldo.
Ten Hag’s high-intensity, defending from the front style, is not expected to suit the veteran. And there have been suggestions the pair may clash over the newly-imposed style of play.