Man Utd crisis as Ronaldo row ‘threatening to split dressing room’ on eve of new season

Marcus Rashford reflects on end of Man Utd's pre-season tour in Australia

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s desire to leave Manchester United this summer is ‘threatening’ to divide the club’s changing room, with Erik ten Hag’s plans of building a cohesive squad hanging in the balance. The striker would like the Red Devils to release him of his contract so that he can sign for a club playing in the Champions League next season.

United have stood firm with their message that Ronaldo is not up for sale so far this summer, despite the player’s agent Jorge Mendes holding talks with other sides. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is thought to have been offered to Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid – though all three have turned their back on the deal.

Ten Hag has spoken publicly about his desire to work with Ronaldo and have the 37-year-old lead his line next season. However, the Dutchman may not be too fond of the idea now as, according to the Daily Star, Ronaldo’s unhappiness is ‘threatening to split the dressing room before a ball has even been kicked’.

As well as poor performances, it was issues behind the scenes that led to United recording such an embarrassing campaign last season. Thus, Ten Hag will have been keen to have made that a matter of the past, though it appears he will face an uphill battle in doing so.

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The former Ajax boss has struggled so far this summer to sign all of his key transfer targets, with Frenkie de Jong namely the player he has encountered numerous issues with. The Barcelona playmaker was seen as the ideal midfielder to slot into the heart of the United side, but the Netherlands international is reluctant to leave the Camp Nou outfit.

Barca are willing to allow De Jong to leave in a deal worth £72million, with that money likely to fund a move for Bernardo Silva of Manchester City. However, the former Ajax midfielder is digging his heels in and is thought to have told Ten Hag that he does not intend on joining United.

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New signing Lisandro Martinez has spoken out about the faith he has in Ten Hag, having worked with him previously in the Eredivisie. He said: “[He’s] very intense, for sure. Good football. Winning mentality, you know? That’s the most important [thing].

“Every player needs to have things clear. I think he’s very clear also. So I think, with him, every day you can learn and then, in the game, you can understand also fully – tactics and everything. How did he help me to improve? In how we can understand fully the situations, the decisions inside the pitch. He’s there in every detail.”

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