Ten Hag Concedes Ronaldo Behind with Fitness Ahead of EPL Season Opener

Ten Hag Concedes Ronaldo Behind with Fitness Ahead of EPL Season Opener Photo: TT
Old Trafford is home of Manchester United football club — Photo by inookphoto

Cristiano Ronaldo is unlikely to be ready for the start of the new English Premier League this weekend after playing a bit-part role in Manchester United’s 1-1 friendly draw with Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.

Ronaldo started the game but was replaced at half-time and pictured leaving Old Trafford before full-time.

United have clarified that there was no issue with Ronaldo’s premature exit, joining a handful of teammates in departing early.

But the Portuguese’s reduced minutes come after he missed several pre-season games after skipping he club’s tour of Thailand and Australia following an off-season transfer saga.

Ronaldo cited “family reasons” for the missing the pre-season tour but it comes after he reportedly requested a transfer away from Old Trafford, with a desire to challenge for trophies and play in the UEFA Champions League.

The 37-year-old’s transfer options, with that desire in mind, appear limited meaning it seems probable he will have to settle to stay at United where he is contracted for the 2022-23 season.

New United boss Erik ten Hag conceded Ronaldo was short of match fitness ahead of their Premier League season opener against Brighton on Sunday.

“He is not on the level of the rest of the squad because he missed a lot of weeks,” ten Hag told Viaplay.

“But he needs games and he needs training, a lot.”

United have remained firm that they do not want to sell Ronaldo, with ten Hag insisting he is part of his plans.

Ronaldo tweeted an image of him playing in Saturday’s game, stating: “Happy to be back.”

Ben somerford
Sports Pundit staff writer @bensomerford
Australian journalist who specialises on all sports, focusing on football, tennis, basketball and racing, having written for global publications including FourFourTwo, AAP, Inside Futbol and many more....

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