Cristiano Ronaldo did not return to Manchester United training on Monday due to family reasons, according to widespread reports.

The Portugal international was said over the weekend to have asked United for a move away if they receive a satisfactory offer.

He had been due to return to training on Monday along with United's other international players.

However, while United's other big-name stars were put through their paces by new boss Erik ten Hag, Ronaldo was not present at Carrington.

Ronaldo's explanation for his absence was reportedly fully accepted by United management.

Stats Perform has asked United to clarify Ronaldo's situation.

Ongoing speculation regarding Ronaldo's Old Trafford future comes less than a year on from his return to the club following 12 seasons away with Real Madrid and Juventus.

The 37-year-old led the scoring charts last term with 24 goals in all competitions, but his homecoming did not go to plan as United registered their lowest Premier League points tally.

United endured a fifth successive season without silverware and finished down in sixth, meaning no Champions League football in the 2022-23 campaign.

That is said to be the reason why Ronaldo, the leading scorer of all time in UEFA's primary club competition, is pushing for a move elsewhere this window.

Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, Napoli and MLS clubs have been linked with the five-time Ballon d'Or winner, as have his former sides Madrid and Sporting CP.

Ten Hag's side are scheduled to play their first pre-season friendly against Liverpool in Bangkok in eight days' time.

Paulo Dybala's time at Juventus ended in a way where neither party was ultimately happy with the outcome.

Despite his desire to stay, the Bianconeri were unwilling to keep the Argentina forward, allowing his contract to run down.

Reports suggest his next destination will not be in Serie A but in the Premier League, with a number of clubs showing interest.

 

TOP STORY – MANCHESTER UNITED, ARSENAL AFTER DYBALA

Arsenal and Manchester United are set to engage in another transfer battle over Dybala, according to La Repubblica.

With the Premier League giants already in the race to sign Dybala's compatriot Lisandro Martinez from Ajax, it has been reported the two clubs have been in contact with his agent Jorge Antun.

The 28-year-old is available as a free agent with his contract at Juventus expiring this off-season, and a move to Inter stalling after Romelu Lukaku's transfer.

Reports suggest United are looking at Dybala as a replacement for the departed Cristiano Ronaldo, whose signing at Juventus coincidentally signalled the beginning of the end for the former in Turin.

 

ROUND-UP

- Meanwhile, United and Barcelona have reportedly agreed on a fee for Frenkie de Jong but are now in process of negotiating add-ons, according to Fabrizio Romano.

- Bernardo Silva has told his agent he wants to go in the opposite direction and leave Manchester City for Barcelona, Sport is reporting.

- Chelsea are making progress in their attempts to sign Matthijs de Ligt after Juventus lowered their asking price, per CBS Sports.

- Leeds United have opened talks with RB Leipzig over midfielder Tyler Adams, The Sun is reporting.

Marcus Rashford believes enjoying a full pre-season will allow him to rediscover his form under new Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag, saying he is "ready and focused" ahead of the new Premier League season.

Rashford endured a poor campaign in 2021-22, scoring just four goals in 25 league appearances as United finished sixth and posted their worst-ever Premier League points tally (58).

Having only played 1,232 minutes of Premier League football, Rashford was left out of Gareth Southgate's England squad for June's Nations League fixtures.

The Three Lions boss also claimed Rashford, as well as club team-mate Jadon Sancho, had "a lot to do" to make England's squad for the World Cup later this year after struggling on the domestic stage.

But after featuring in England's Euro 2020 party last year and missing out on a full pre-season ahead of the Coronavirus-affected 2020-21 campaign, Rashford is relishing his time training under Ten Hag. 

"I have definitely not had that much rest before in a summer break, so it was a little bit strange at first and I had to adjust my program a little bit, make it a little bit longer, so I could come in with a positive look on everything," he told the club's website.

"We are excited to go away [on tour] now. You feel every day now you are getting that one step sharper and one step fitter to being ready for the season.

"I don't think I have had a proper pre-season since 2019 so for me it is definitely a positive thing.

"I feel like I probably needed that time to switch off a little bit and me having that time enabled me to refocus a lot earlier than I expected, to be honest. 

"Like I say, I feel ready and focused so when that first game does come, it's good to know you have done almost six weeks of training beforehand. It will definitely be a positive."

United endured a dire campaign last term as their major trophy drought was extended to five years, with caretaker boss Ralf Rangnick posting the worst points-per-game return (1.5) and win percentage (42 per cent) of any manager in the club's Premier League history.

But with Ten Hag at the helm, Rashford says there is a newfound excitement among the United squad. 

"We have got that feeling of excitement and that buzz around the training ground again and so it is definitely positive going into pre-season," he added.

"It is just about, one, getting the principles right of how Erik wants us to play and the details, and two, enjoying it. 

"In the first week of training we have done both and everyone is looking forward to going on the tour and putting what we have done in training into the first games.

"It is a fresh start for everyone, and for me personally I have had quite a long break, a nice camp before coming back into training, and we are starting off on the right foot.

"Like I said, everyone is looking forward to pre-season now and going out to try to put into the games what we have learned in training so far, and what we will continue to learn, not only in the pre-season but throughout the season as well."

United will face the likes of Liverpool and Atletico Madrid in high-profile friendlies before beginning their Premier League season against Brighton and Hove Albion on August 7.

Robert Lewandowski's status and Sadio Mane's transfer have taken up the majority of attention at Bayern Munich this close season.

Meanwhile, Serge Gnabry's uncertain future has lurked in the background, despite his importance to the team in recent seasons.

Reports suggest he is set to leave for the Premier League sooner rather than later, with a number of clubs showing interest.

 

TOP STORY – PREMIER LEAGUE CLUBS QUEUE FOR GNABRY

Arsenal and Manchester United are both preparing to sign Bayern Munich's Serge Gnabry, according to the Daily Star.

According to reports, Gnabry is set to run down his contract after rejecting terms for a renewal, with one year left on his deal.

This leaves Bayern with compromised leverage as time becomes a luxury, despite their desire to cash in this window, instead of letting him go for free at the end of next season

While Arsenal and United are preparing a £40million (€46.4m) bid, The Sun is also reporting Gnabry would become a priority for Manchester City if Raheem Sterling leaves.

 

ROUND-UP

- Meanwhile, the Gunners and United are engaging in a bidding war for Ajax's Lisandro Martinez, according to the Daily Mail.

- Martinez's team-mate and compatriot Nicolas Tagliafico is attracting interest from Brighton and Hove Albion and Lyon, per Fabrizio Romano.

Barcelona have no intention to sell Frenkie de Jong to United but are looking for the midfielder to take a pay cut, Diario AS reports.

Mohamed Salah was prepared to join Chelsea before Liverpool made him the highest-paid player in their history, The Sun is reporting.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta insists the club have "no intention" of selling Manchester United target Frenkie De Jong, but says the midfielder may have to accept a salary adjustment to remain at Camp Nou.

De Jong, who emerged as one of European football's hottest properties under Erik ten Hag at Ajax before joining Barca in 2019, has been strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford since his former boss took over at United.

The Netherlands international said in May that his preference would be to remain at Camp Nou, which he labelled his "dream club", but the Blaugrana's financial difficulties have given rise to speculation he could depart.

Barcelona's desire to recruit wantaway Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has only amplified such rumours, but Laporta believes De Jong is happy at the club and could stay – if an agreement over his salary can be reached.

"Frenkie de Jong is a Barca player and is recognised as one of the best players in the world," Laporta told reporters.

"We know of clubs that want him, not only United, and we have no intention of selling him. The player, I get the impression, wants to stay. 

"He is comfortable at Barca and I will do what is in my power so that Frenkie stays here, but it is also a salary issue and it would have to be adjusted.

"What is certain is that the salary levels of some players are not in line with the salary levels that the board of directors that I have the privilege of presiding over have set."

 

De Jong made 47 appearances for Barcelona during the 2021-22 season, scoring four goals and boasting the best passing accuracy (91.18 per cent) of any of the club's midfielders to play at least 20 games in all competitions.

Laporta refused to be drawn on Barcelona's interest in Lewandowski, however, only affirming his respect for the Poland international's current club. 

"He is a Bayern player," he said of the striker, who plundered 50 goals for the Bundesliga champions last season. 

"Everyone knows that he is a great player, but I would prefer to be reserved because he is a Bayern player. 

"We know that he has publicly stated that he wants to come to Barca and we are very flattered, but we have respect for Bayern Munich, which is one of the best clubs in the world. Between clubs, we respect each other."

It seems Cristiano Ronaldo's second stint at Manchester United might be cut short.

Ronaldo returned to United at the end of August 2021, but after a season back at Old Trafford, the 37-year-old apparently wants out.

According to multiple reports, Ronaldo has informed the club that he wishes to leave should an acceptable offer be received.

Ronaldo was United's top scorer last season, though it would be fair to say his comeback did not go entirely to plan, with the Red Devils finishing sixth and recording their worst Premier League points tally.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked in November and interim manager Ralf Rangnick hardly made a lasting impression.

Erik ten Hag has now been tasked with the rebuild, but would doing that without Ronaldo be a negative, or a positive? Two of Stats Perform's writers have had their say.

Ronaldo's want-away wish bad news for United - Patric Ridge

Sure, United's season might not have gone according to plan, but without Ronaldo, it could have been a lot worse. United ultimately scraped into the Europa League despite a dismal end to the campaign, and the fact that they have continental club football of any description to look forward to in the coming season is, in large part, down to the 18 league goals Ronaldo scored.

His record speaks for itself, and the task of replacing him is put into even more of a stark light when you compare Ronaldo's statistics to the rest of United's squad last term.

His 24 goals across all competitions is 14 clear of second-best Bruno Fernandes (10). Indeed, only Ronaldo (27), Fernandes (23) and Paul Pogba (10) hit double figures for direct goal contributions.

Can United really lose two of those players in one window and expect to be challenging for Champions League qualification next term, especially with Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea all looking to strengthen? Marcus Rashford looks like a player in need of a reset, and Anthony Martial is seemingly surplus to requirements.

Ronaldo scored a goal every 132 minutes last season, recording a shot conversion rate of 16.9 per cent. With Ronaldo in the team, United won 17 of 38 games (44.7 per cent). That win rate dropped drastically to 27.3 per cent (3/11) without him.

In this writer's opinion, Ronaldo leaving would leave Ten Hag with even more work to do, on top of what is already a hugely difficult task.

Ronaldo departure would provide opportunity for reset - Ryan Benson

Goals win football matches. Cristiano Ronaldo scores goals – we know this. But did he make United a better team in general? Few would claim he did.

Granted, some might suggest that is a harsh way to judge him given he played in – and scored 18 league goals for – arguably the worst United team (at least in terms of seasonal statistics) in over 30 years, but who's to say only he could have netted that amount for this side? Don't forget, they did finish second in the 2020-21 campaign.

Even before he returned to Old Trafford, there were plenty of critics warning fans United could potentially be worse off than before with Ronaldo because of how little he offers to the wider team.

Yes, he scores goals, but what's stopping United signing a replacement who does that but also works hard off the ball and adds dynamism to the attack? Maybe that's easier said than done, but those players do literally exist.

United are in a transitional stage, the middle of a rebuild. With that in mind, no one will be expecting them to mount anything close to a title challenge next season, Ronaldo or not.

Therefore, they might as well allow Ten Hag to bring a striker he deems to be tailor-made for the way he wants to play, rather than shoe-horn into the side a Ronaldo who offers precious little outside of the box.

Ronaldo is 37. United would've needed to replace him soon anyway, so at least this provides them with an earlier opportunity to sign, and start building around, someone much younger.

Cristiano Ronaldo is poised to become the biggest news of the transfer window, with reports stating he is keen on leaving Manchester United to continue playing in the Champions League.

The Portuguese superstar has played in Europe's elite competition for 19 consecutive seasons since first moving to United from Sporting CP in 2003 and stands as the highest-ever scorer in the tournament with 140 goals.

However, United's sixth-placed finish in the Premier League last season means that Erik ten Hag takes over a side who are set for Europa League football – and it is now reported that Ronaldo is pushing for an exit.

If he does get his wish, there are only a few likely destinations for the 37-year-old and Stats Perform has assessed some of them.

Napoli

A return to Serie A has been touted for Ronaldo, with The Athletic naming Napoli as potential suitors – they have a void in their team following the exit of Lorenzo Insigne.

In Ronaldo's three years in Italy with Juventus, no player scored more Serie A goals than his tally of 81 and, despite spending the past year with Manchester United, only Ciro Immobile has scored more Serie A goals since 2018.

Napoli, having finished third in Serie A last year and nine points ahead of Juventus, would match Ronaldo's desire to play Champions League football – although the club's finances and Ronaldo's wage demands may prove to be restrictive.

 

Chelsea

Fresh from Todd Boehly's takeover, Chelsea are looking to rejuvenate the squad and finances do not appear to be a problem, given they have allowed Romelu Lukaku to return to Inter on loan just a year after spending a club-record £97.5million on the Belgium forward.

Interestingly enough, it has been reported that Ronaldo's agent, Jorge Mendes, has already met with the new Chelsea owner this summer and the Blues are in need of a striker having lost Lukaku, with Timo Werner performing better from a deeper role.

Whether Ronaldo would accept a move to a Premier League rival, given his status at Old Trafford, is the biggest question regarding any hopes the Blues may have in signing the veteran forward and, if he is keen, United would likely demand a significant return on the investment they paid last year.

Chelsea also have interest in Raheem Sterling and Leeds United attacker Raphinha, but Ronaldo would be a statement of intent for the new owner.

Sporting CP

With a United homecoming already under his belt, could Sporting secure a sensational return of their own and bring Ronaldo back to where it all began? It's certainly not beyond the realm of possibility.

Second in Primeira Liga last season, Sporting have the Champions League football that Ronaldo craves and he is already a great at the club – though his success has come in his years since he left his home country in 2003.

Ronaldo had just a single season in the senior squad with Sporting before he moved to United, so he may feel he has unfinished business – and it is a side that can definitely compete, having ended a 20-year barren spell without a league title in the 2020-21 season.

 

Bayern Munich

Ronaldo has shone in three of Europe's top-five leagues, the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A, with only the Bundesliga and Ligue 1 left standing – and Bayern have been touted as potential suitors, though Paris Saint-Germain are not said to be interest (sorry, no link up with Lionel Messi just yet, sports fans).

With Robert Lewandowski's future at the Allianz Arena continuing to be shrouded in speculation, it may fall into place for the Poland international to get what he wants, a move to Barcelona, and for Bayern to land Ronaldo as his replacement.

In the past five years, no player has scored more league goals than Lewandowski (193) but Ronaldo, along with the addition of Sadio Mane, should be able to fill any goalscoring void that would be left in the event of a departure.

Real Madrid

Another possible return destination... could Ronaldo wind back up in the Spanish capital?

The Champions League winners are hardly in need of another superstar forward, given the incredible form of Karim Benzema, but bringing Ronaldo back to the club where he scored 450 goals would surely appeal to president Florentino Perez? 

Madrid missed out on Kylian Mbappe, much to their frustration, and having Ronaldo in their side would plug a gap, so to speak, until the PSG forward is further into the new, three-year contract he signed with the French club in May.

MLS

Champions League football has been documented as the reason for Ronaldo's desire to leave but, if such offers are not forthcoming, could a move to MLS be on the cards? 

Financial rules and designated player spots would make a switch complicated, with there only being a handful of teams likely to be able to make a move possible – likely to be those in Los Angeles, Miami and New York.

With the 2026 World Cup taking place in North America, bringing Ronaldo to MLS would raise the profile of the league further – and would undoubtedly be the biggest acquisition for the league since David Beckham's move to LA Galaxy in 2007.

That move marked the start of a new era of soccer in the US and has evolved considerably since, though Ronaldo's arrival would send things to a completely new level.

It has been reported that United do not wish to sell Ronaldo, but with his contract being up next year, could a switch to North America be likely? 

Cristiano Ronaldo should have told Manchester United he wanted to leave at the end of last season rather than drop a July bombshell, according to former Liverpool star Jamie Carragher.

Superstar Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford last year, having enjoyed a remarkable career in 12 seasons away with Real Madrid and Juventus, but widespread reports on Saturday said the 37-year-old wants to leave again.

He is said to want to play in the Champions League, according to The Times, which first reported the news, and United cannot offer that after a disappointing sixth-placed finish last season.

The Portugal striker has been a mainstay in that competition throughout his career, and the prospect of being away from the frontline of elite European football would be a step down.

New United manager Erik ten Hag will target a return to the Champions League, but that is at least a year away, and veteran Ronaldo does not have time to waste.

Unless Ronaldo has been given unexpected information about his role at United in the new season, Carragher said he could not understand the timing of his apparent request to move on.

Carragher sparked a debate with former United captain Gary Neville on Twitter when he wrote: "Ronaldo did exactly what I thought he would do, score goals but make the team worse. The transfer request also kills the idea he turned down Man City because of his love for Man United."

That was a reference to the saga that saw United seemingly pip Manchester City to the signing of Ronaldo last August, when Alex Ferguson appealed to his former star player to return to the Red Devils.

Carragher's comments triggered a rebuttal from Neville, who said: "I get it, you’re full of yourselves but he can turn down City for United because he likes them more and still want to leave this summer. He left before but still loved the club. Enjoy Saturday night and your short period of success."

Carragher, who has seen Liverpool rack up a string of trophies during a lean recent period for United, did not leave it at that.

"City didn’t want him you [clown] and you're the same fella who kept saying it was like Elvis had arrived in Manchester! Elvis has left the building," Carragher replied.

Carragher added: "Also, why now? Has ETH [Erik ten Hag] told him he is not part of his plans or will play a limited role?? Surely the end of last season was the right time to tell the club."

Ronaldo scored 24 goals in all competitions last season, including 18 in the Premier League.

United finished with their lowest points tally in the 30-year history of the Premier League, a competition Ronaldo won three times during his first United stint from 2003 to 2009.

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo has recently been linked with United's domestic rivals Chelsea and Jose Mourinho's Serie A outfit Roma. The Italians would be unable to offer Champions League football in 2022-23, but Chelsea could, having finished third in last season's Premier League.

Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave Manchester United for a second time, according to a report.

Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford last year, having enjoyed a remarkable career in 12 seasons away with Real Madrid and Juventus.

But the veteran striker's homecoming campaign did not go entirely to plan, even if he scored 24 goals in all competitions.

United finished sixth in the Premier League, enduring a fifth successive season without silverware and finishing with their lowest points tally in the competition.

Ronaldo, who won three league titles and the Champions League during his first United stint, has since been linked with moves away from the club.

And The Times reported on Saturday that the 37-year-old has now asked United to be allowed to leave if they receive "a satisfactory offer".

The report suggests Ronaldo wants to spend the final years of his career playing in the Champions League, with United having to settle for Europa League football in 2022-23.

United are expected to bring in the first signing of the Erik ten Hag era in the coming days, with Feyenoord defender Tyrell Malacia reportedly set to join. According to widespread reports, the club are also in talks with Barcelona over Frenkie de Jong.

Former Rangers and Scotland goalkeeper Andy Goram has passed away aged 58 after a short battle with cancer.

The ex-Gers shot stopper revealed in May that he had been given a terminal diagnosis of stage four oesophageal cancer and had less than six months to live.

"The thoughts of the directors, management, players and staff are today with Andy's family, and would ask that their privacy is respected at this sad time," Rangers said in a statement on Saturday.

Goram is fondly remembered for his seven-year spell at Ibrox between 1991 and 1998, when he was a five-time league champion, as well as winning three Scottish Cups and two Scottish League Cups.

He turned in a string of impressive performances in the first iteration of the Champions League, helping Rangers to a second-place group finish, a point off qualifying for the final.

Goram became something of a journeyman player following the end of his tenure in Glasgow, and became a Premier League winner in 2001 after a short loan spell with Manchester United.

At international level, he won 43 caps and was named in the squads for the Mexico 1986 and Italia 1990 World Cups, plus Euro 1992 and Euro 1996, when he was first-choice goalkeeper.

Goram was a member of the Scottish Football Hall of Fame, and was also named both the Scottish PFA and Football Writers’ Player of the Year in 1992-93 for his efforts in Rangers' treble-winning campaign.

Manchester United and England goalkeeper Dean Henderson has completed a season-long loan move to Premier League new boys Nottingham Forest.

Henderson has been with the Red Devils since the age of 14 and has 49 top-flight appearances to his name but has found himself largely acting as understudy to David de Gea at Old Trafford.

The 25-year-old previously enjoyed two loan spells with Sheffield United, helping the Blades to promotion from the Championship in 2018-19 and earning international recognition with the Three Lions in an impressive 2019-20 campaign.

Speaking to Forest's official website, Henderson said: "I'm absolutely delighted to be joining such a fantastic club with an amazing set of fans and a wonderful history.

"I want to thank the manager and owners at Nottingham Forest for the great opportunity to play for this club in their first season back in the Premier League. I'm really excited to work with everyone at the club from the manager, players and goalkeeper coach Danny Alcock.

"Finally, just a massive thank you to the fans for the welcome I have received and I can't wait to celebrate some brilliant moments together this coming season."

Forest head coach Steve Cooper added: "Dean is a top-class goalkeeper and he's hungry for more opportunities to play and to continue to prove himself at the highest level.

"He's played multiple times in the Premier League but has also experienced the Champions League and international football.

"Again, Dean is someone who has attracted a lot of interest from other clubs and we're delighted that he has chosen to Nottingham Forest for our return to the Premier League."

Henderson is the second arrival of the window at the City Ground, with forward Taiwo Awoniyi having joined from Union Berlin.

Forest defeated Huddersfield Town in May's Championship play-off final to earn promotion back to the Premier League for the first time since 1999.

Cooper's side start their campaign at Newcastle United on August 6.

Brazil star Neymar is reportedly interested in a move to the Premier League after being informed Paris Saint-Germain will not stand in his way if he wishes to depart.

ESPN is reporting that Neymar's agent has been in touch with Chelsea to gauge their interest in bringing in the 30-year-old, who scored 13 goals and added six assists in 22 Ligue 1 contests this past season.

While Neymar's talent is not in question, his health may be, having missed over two months of this campaign after suffering an ankle injury, and that is coming off a 2020-21 season where he only played 18 league games due to ankle and adductor injuries.


TOP STORY – NEYMAR WEIGHS UP CHELSEA MOVE AS PSG GIVE GREEN LIGHT

ESPN's report mentions that Neymar's agent, Pini Zahavi, believes there are only "two or three teams" that would be able to meet his wage demands, and it is thought that Chelsea are hoping to make a splash under the new ownership of Todd Boehly.

Spanish publication Sport claims Neymar activated a clause in his PSG contract as soon as he possibly could on July 1 to add one extra year to his deal – tying him to the French giants until 2027 – but that does not rule out a move happening.

Chelsea's Brazilian centre-back and Neymar's former PSG team-mate Thiago Silva has been vocal about his desire to recruit the superstar forward, but his salary of €43million could stand in the way if the Stamford Bridge club decide they would rather use this transfer period's resources in defence.


ROUND-UP

– The Star is reporting that Manchester United are closing in on a deal with Christian Eriksen as his contract with Brentford has expired and he is available on a free transfer.

– Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele is expected to leave on a free transfer, with Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich the three teams listed by Marca as his potential landing spots.

Everton are hoping to replace Richarlison with Watford striker Emmanuel Dennis after their Brazilian forward departed for Tottenham this week.

– According to The Sun, Fulham are finalising a £17million move for 26-year-old Sporting defensive midfielder Joao Palhinha.

– ESPN is reporting Fulham have offered £10m for Manchester United's Andreas Pereira as the 26-year-old returns from his loan stint with Flamengo.

Lyon director Vincent Ponsot says "the club's integrity is more important" than any signing after conceding defeat in his side's pursuit of Feyenoord left-back Tyrell Malacia.

Ligue 1 side Lyon reportedly negotiated a €13million fee for Netherlands international Malacia, plus €2m in add-ons, and had hoped to conclude the deal this week.

However, it has since been reported that Manchester United trumped Lyon with a £14.7m (€17m) offer for the 22-year-old, with an official announcement said to be close. 

Speaking at the unveiling of Corentin Tolisso on Friday, Lyon chief Ponsot suggested his side are no longer in the running for Malacia due to the spiralling cost of the transfer.

"If we don't have the means to recruit, we can't bring in players of that level, generally speaking, whatever their love for Lyon might be," he said.

"So it's not a case of having the means, but I'm going to be very clear: the institution is always stronger than any player.

"Sometimes there are demands – that's how it is in the world of football – that can't be made. 

"It's true that it can sometimes collapse deals, but we want a left-back and we'll find a good left-back.

"I think the president [Jean-Michel Aulas] is happy to be able to sleep soundly at night and not see the police show up in the morning. Likewise for me."

Malacia came through Feyenoord's youth system and played 136 games for the Dutch side, including 50 appearances in all competitions last season.

The 22-year-old, capped five times by his country, is expected to be announced as Erik ten Hag's first signing as United boss in the coming days.

"I can't say everything. It's still not been completed, ask yourself that question," Ponsot said of interest elsewhere in Malacia.

"He still hasn't signed, but for us it's over. Because the club's integrity is more important. We're proud to be working for a club like this."

Bruno Fernandes has addressed speculation Cristiano Ronaldo is seeking to leave Manchester United, saying he "doesn't believe" such a move will materialise.

Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford from Juventus last year and finished as United's highest scorer in the Premier League with 18 goals – only behind Tottenham's Son Heung-min and Liverpool's Mohamed Salah in the division (both 23).

However, it was a disappointing season for United as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lost his job and Ralf Rangnick failed to steady the ship, with the club missing out on a top-four finish and Champions League football.

Recent speculation has suggested Ronaldo is unhappy with United's direction and is seeking a move, and Chelsea have reportedly shown an interest.

Fernandes does not believe a departure will follow, however, and expects to see his compatriot in United training when the pair return from holiday next week.

"From what I've talked to him – we're both on vacation still, and no-one bothers friends on holiday – I hope in four days to find him to train there. I'm not expecting more than that," he told reporters on Thursday.

"As far as I know, there's nothing more to it than that, but everyone takes care of their future. I do not believe that the club is willing to lose an asset like Cristiano."

Fernandes was then asked about the possibility of Ronaldo returning to Sporting CP, where his career began, and acknowledged he was hopeful such a move would happy in the future.

"It would be a great moment for Sporting, almost everyone expects this; I'd like that to happen," Fernandes, also a former Sporting man, added.

"He has the ambition to continue playing for many years. We will see what he will decide, I hope, when the contract with United is over, but the ambition and dream of the fans would be to see Ronaldo playing with the Sporting jersey."

Paul Pogba is seemingly closing in on a return to Juventus after the club's CEO claimed talks are progressing "very, very well".

Manchester United confirmed at the start of June that Pogba was set to leave at the end of his contract, with former club Juventus his likeliest next destination.

His United contract officially expired on Thursday, and although he has not already reached an agreement with another club, it would appear to be a formality.

Nevertheless, reports suggest Pogba will be paid significantly less than he was at United, with Juve said to be the only club taking an interest in him.

As such, Juve chief Maurizio Arrivabene seems confident a deal is likely, and the Frenchman will be considered a major signing from a "commercial" perspective.

"We are talking to him, things are evolving very, very well," he told Tuttosport. "[The idea came about] in our meetings, when names are mentioned.

"It was like that with [Dusan] Vlahovic. You open the door, throw a name and everyone looks at you like you're crazy. Then, little by little, the machine starts up and the operation is built.

"[The idea of] Pogba was born this way. His presence will also be fundamental from a commercial point of view, even if my dream is to have an Italian player who is internationally recognised, like a [Francesco] Totti, a [Alessandro] Del Piero, a [Gianluigi Buffon] Buffon."

Arrivabene also expressed regret over last year's departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, who returned to Manchester United.

Ronaldo spent three years at Juve and has been tentatively linked with a move back to Turin – Arrivabene appeared to dismiss that idea, even if he believes the club needs experienced players to guide their more promising youngsters.

"He was not fully exploited because of COVID [the pandemic], but I am convinced that Juve goes beyond every player," he said.

"125 years of history are not written by a single player; the team is more important than individuals, and here everyone has to respect the rules.

"It's not a change of course, but we need points of reference. I saw the Ronaldo effect on our young players, now players like [Nicolo] Fagioli, [Matias] Soule and [Fabio] Miretti must have players to learn from."

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