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Has Cristiano Ronaldo asked to leave Manchester United?

AS understands the Portugal captain has asked to be valued in order to continue working on an offer to leave Old Trafford before the transfer window closes.

Cristiano Ronaldo asks United to put a price on his departure
Bryn LennonGetty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo has become the main focus of the tail-end of the summer transfer market. Manchester United’s poor season and the club’s absence from the 2022-23 Champions League campaign have led the Portuguese to reconsider his future within the new Old Trafford project of incoming manager Erik ten Hag and the former Real Madrid and Juventus forward has apparently decided to leave Manchester for a second time.

After being absent from the bulk of United’s pre-season tour, Cristiano returned to United’s training ground this week to join up with his teammates and was included in the squad for Sunday’s friendly against Rayo Vallecano. At the same time, the player and his agent, Jorge Mendes, began working on a strategy to secure his exit. Ronaldo held a meeting with Ten Hag and explained his reasons for wishing to leave, but also assured the Dutchman that he would maintain full commitment to United if he remains at Old Trafford beyond the deadline.

Now AS has confirmed this was not the only meeting that the player had. He and Mendes met with the United hierarchy to try to unblock the situation. In this meeting, Mendes told the United suits that Ronaldo has an offer on the table but in order to be able to work on the transfer he needed United to place a transfer fee on his client. The identity of the club in question has not been revealed.

Manchester United are standing firm and reiterated they are not willing to let the Portugal captain leave until his contract expires on 30 June, 2023.

Ronaldo’s preferred option is Atlético

If Mendes’ work bears fruit and Manchester United sanction Ronaldo’s departure from Old Trafford, Atlético Madrid is the Portuguese striker’s preferred destination, even if the feeling is not exactly mutual.

Ronaldo is determined to play Champions League football next season and although Atlético have been playing a straight bat about a possible move, club president Enrique Cerezo recently said: “It is almost impossible for Cristiano to come to Atlético.”

“Almost,” but not impossible. Ronaldo, meanwhile, remains patient, aware of the need for Atlético to make room for him in the squad and the Portuguese is willing to adjust his salary demands to Atlético’s budget. Reports suggest Atlético have been trying to drum up offers for Antoince Griezmann - including offering United a swap deal - and Álvaro Morata, but so far nothing has come of it.