tough stance | 

Alex Ferguson takes part in crunch talks as United tell Ronaldo - ‘you’re going nowhere’

Cristiano Ronaldo, right, arrives at Manchester United's training ground yesterday. Photo: PA Wire

Cristiano Ronaldo, right, arrives at Manchester United's training ground yesterday. Photo: PA Wire© PA

Ian WhittellTelegraph.co.uk

Manchester United have refused to budge from their hard-line position that Cristiano Ronaldo must stay at Old Trafford after an opening round of talks with the unsettled star.

A day of negotiations at the club’s training ground ended in impasse, with the Portuguese forward still believed to be entrenched in his wish to quit the club. But, in response, United have been equally adamant that they will not move from their position that the 37-year-old will form part of Erik ten Hag’s first team plans in the coming season.

Ronaldo’s mentor, and first United manager, Alex Ferguson was present at Carrington as the player ended his self-imposed exile and returned to the training ground yesterday. United chief executive officer Richard Arnold was also in attendance, at a pre-arranged football board meeting.

United would not reveal the extent to which either Ferguson or Arnold were involved in talks between Ten Hag, Ronaldo and the player’s agent Jorge Mendes.

But, after the first day of negotiations, United have confirmed that their position is unaltered and Ronaldo is not for sale.

United have not shifted their position, issued at the start of the month when Ronaldo first announced he wanted to leave. And that leaves the next step in the camp of the Portuguese star and Mendes who are believed to be equally unshakable in the desire for him to leave.

Ronaldo, who insists he wishes to play Champions League football in the new season, is sticking to that position despite an apparent lack of viable alternatives for him.

The developments followed a dramatic day at Carrington, that started with Ronaldo and Mendes pictured arriving at around 10am,an hour before the rest of the United playing squad.

Ferguson followed around an hour after Ronaldo, the player he first signed for United from Sporting Lisbon, when he was still a teenager, in 2003. Arnold, who has been in regular contact with Mendes during Ronaldo’s absence from United’s recent 17-day tour of Thailand and Australia, was also at Carrington, to attend the routine football board meeting.

But with Ferguson having played a pivotal role in convincing Ronaldo to return to United last August, Arnold may well have tried to use the former manager to influence his protégé to remain this summer.

With Ronaldo yet to join his team-mates in active football drills, it appears unlikely he will be involved in his club’s weekend friendlies, when they face Atletico Madrid in Oslo on Saturday lunchtime and host Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford late on Sunday afternoon.

That also leaves him highly unlikely to feature when his club kick off their new Premier League campaign against Brighton a week on Sunday.

But Ten Hag, who has also adopted a position that he wants Ronaldo to stay, will be hoping that the situation is resolved quickly and there is no repeat of the protracted transfer window activity with which he was involved last summer.

Ronaldo actually started last season playing for Juventus, despite stating his desire to leave the Italian club, and it was not until the final days of August that the star first appeared destined for Manchester City before signing a deal with United on August 27.


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