Cristiano Ronaldo's continued absence 'opens door' for Man Utd youngster to travel on pre-season tour | The Sun

CRISTIANO RONALDO'S continued absence from Manchester United is set to open the door for a youngster to join their pre-season tour, according to reports.

The Portuguese star has been the poster boy of United's tour promotion material, but appears all but certain to miss the trip.


The Red Devils trained today at Carrington for the last time before jetting out to Thailand tomorrow, with Ronaldo still absent.

United's wantaway No7 is on indefinite leave for "family reasons" and is the only member of their first team squad yet to return to training.

The 37-year-old's absence is a huge blow for tour organisers, but could open the door to some fresh talent.

According to the MEN's Samuel Lockhurst, "at least one rookie youngster" is set to be part of United's travelling party.

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The likes of Alejandro Garnacho, Shola Shoretire, Zidane Iqbal, Charlie Savage, Alvaro Fernandez and Hannibal Mejbri have all been on the fringes of the first team squad over the last 12 months.

New boss Erik ten Hag will be keen to get a look at his side's best young talent, with United having won the FA Youth Cup last season.

A number of academy starlets have also returned from loan spells away from Old Trafford including James Garner, Teden Mengi, Tahith Chong and Dylan Levitt.

United's travelling party will also be joined by new signing Tyrell Malacia, who has joined for £12.9million from Feyenoord.

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Christian Eriksen is also on the brink of becoming a Red Devil but looks unlikely to be ready for the plane to Asia.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, has been linked with Chelsea – although Bayern Munich have ruled themselves out of the race.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta also confirmed that he had dinner with Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes on Monday night, admitting that it's "nice" to know that the forward is on the market.

Ten Hag is believed to want a quick resolution to the Ronaldo saga, although United are reluctant to sell to Chelsea.

The former Real Madrid ace is claimed to be desperate to play the final years of his career at a club contending for major trophies.

And he has also reportedly been upset by United stars having to undergo a 25 per cent pay cut for failing to qualify for the Champions League.

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Gary Neville fears that the situation could turn into a full-blown summer transfer saga, overshadowing Ten Hag's season preparations.

While Paul Scholes wrote: "Let the circus begin."


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