CRISTIANO RONALDO has told Manchester United he wants to leave.
Old Trafford chiefs are standing firm that the Portuguese star is going nowhere and is not for sale.
But United legend Ronaldo, 37, has asked them to green light any ‘acceptable’ bids.
And that will put Chelsea on red alert as they hunt a striker to fill the gap left by Romelu Lukaku’s departure to Inter Milan.
The bombshell comes after a first week of pre-season training, where new Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag has earned rave reviews.
Ron, who is yet to return to Carrington, is unhappy at the prospect of playing a first season in almost two decades without Champions League football.
And he does not believe United’s squad are capable of mounting a title bid.
Sources in Portugal insist Ronaldo, who has 12 months left on his deal plus a one-year option, has not demanded a transfer and has no intention of doing so.
But United are refusing to deny he wants away.
Ron feels he can play at the highest level until 40 and wants another crack at Champions League glory.
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He was unhappy at United’s dismal season after his return from Juventus for £13 million.
He has played in Europe’s top club competition every season since he left Sporting Lisbon 19 years ago.
But a sixth-placed finish with United left him in the Europa League.
Sporting inquired but his £480,000-a-week wages mean there is little chance of a return.
That has left Todd Boehly’s Chelsea, Bayern Munich or return to Serie A as the only likely serious destinations.
United boss Ten Hag will not stand in his players’ way if they want to leave.
Ironically Ronaldo’s unrest comes at the end of Ten Hag’s first week of pre-season training that sources insist has been a huge success.
Ronaldo’s desire to leave United will be music to the ears of their league rivals Chelsea.
The West Londoners are keen to make the forward their marquee signing this summer and have been keeping tabs on his situation with United.
New Blues chief Boehly recently met with Ronaldo’s agent – Jorge Mendes – to discuss a host of topics, including a potential move for the sporting icon.
German giants Bayern are also interested in signing the veteran forward, who was a ray of light in an otherwise dismal season for the Red Devils.
Ronaldo was United’s top goalscorer, finding the back of the net 24 times and providing three assists in 39 appearances.
New Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag has remained tight-lipped on Ronaldo’s future, although he has been repeatedly urged to get rid of the club legend.
Ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher recently said: “I’m convinced [Ten Hag] has got to do it with Ronaldo. I’m convinced.
“Whether he’s allowed to or not, and I’ve said this consistently throughout this season, that was not a good signing.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest players of all time, and I’m seen as the guy who’s criticizing Ronaldo.
“Ronaldo’s a miles better player than I was; I couldn’t even lace his boots, obviously.
“But I’m not saying that to be disrespectful to him – he’s amazing.
“Ronaldo has never played in a team this bad. He’s always played for great teams.
His attitude of trying to be the main man, getting the goals, driving people on; when you’re in a great team, they’re seen as positives.
“When you’re not playing for a great team, it can be seen as a negative, and I think it has been a negative this season.
“Man United can’t go into next season with a forward who’s going to be 38.
“Even if he does score goals, that’s not right for Man United – one of the biggest clubs in the world.”