The Manchester United team announced on Thursday evening that Cristiano Ronaldo would not be going to Bangkok with them for Erik ten Hag’s first game in charge.

In accordance with United’s permission, Ronaldo has been allowed to remain in Portugal to deal with an unspecified family matter.

The 37-year-old, it needs to be remembered, lost a son in April, when his partner gave birth to twins, only one of whom survived.

No amount of money or fame can shield an individual from that kind of trauma.
Yet the news came five days after Ronaldo’s desire to leave United this summer became public.
And even though he won’t be there, that will be narrative that shapes the club’s time in Thailand, and then Australia, where they go after Tuesday’s match with old rivals Liverpool.
About an hour before Ronaldo’s absence from the Thailand trip became known, a source who knows United well told BBC Sport there was “no chance” of the player being on the trip.
Apparently, Ronaldo must have a move lined up because if he didn’t, what erupted over the weekend would have remained under wraps.

Can Ronaldo solve the problem or is he the problem?

Ronaldo’s presence at United is viewed differently by two groups of people.

In the last miserable season, he was the only player – along with goalkeeper David de Gea – to emerge without damage to his reputation. Without him, United would have been in a much worse position than the one they ended up in because he scored 24 goals, including two hat-tricks.

But there is another narrative, namely that Ronaldo was one of the major factors why the club finished up where it did.

It has been said often enough Ronaldo does not press high, which is the strategy interim boss Ralf Rangnick was hoping to implement when he arrived at the club after Solskjaer’s dismissal in November. It is also the way Ten Hag set his team up at Ajax.

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