Erik ten Hag: ‘Unacceptable’ that Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United friendly early

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As expected, superstar Cristiano Ronaldo made his Manchester United preseason debut for this past Sunday’s friendly against Rayo Vallecano. However, even Ronaldo’s return to the squad did little to silence suggestions he wishes to leave Old Trafford during the summer transfer window to sign for a team that will play in this season’s UEFA Champions League competition. 

As noted by Sky Sports News and Rob Dawson of ESPN, both Ronaldo and teammate Diogo Dalot were pictured exiting the stadium before the full-time whistle of Sunday’s match that ended 1-1. Ronaldo started the contest and was subbed off at halftime, but Dalot was not included in the squad. 

While speaking with Viaplay Sport Netherlands, United manager Erik ten Hag made it clear he’s less than pleased with the actions of Ronaldo and Dalot.

“It is unacceptable for everyone,” ten Hag said of the players leaving early. “I am telling them it’s unacceptable. We are a team. A squad. Until the end we stay together.”

Ronaldo didn’t travel for United’s preseason tour of Thailand and Australia, and his absence was said to be related to unknown “family reasons.” The 37-year-old returned to the club for training last week and, along with agent Jorge Mendes, reportedly discussed the future with ten Hag.

Ten Hag has insisted throughout the summer that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is not for sale and is in his plans for the 2022-23 campaign, but the manager recently admitted Ronaldo must improve his fitness ahead of Sunday’s Premier League season opener against Brighton & Hove Albion.

“He is not on the level of the rest of the squad because he missed a lot of weeks,” ten Hag said before the Rayo Vallecano fixture. “But he needs games and he needs training, a lot.”

It’s unclear if Ronaldo will be selected for the Brighton match. Thus far, it’s been reported that Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli have all distanced themselves from potentially signing CR7. 

Dawson added in his story that United “are yet to receive an offer” for Ronaldo’s services. 


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