Cristiano Ronaldo played 45 minutes as he made his first Manchester United appearance in 12 weeks during Sunday’s 1-1 pre-season draw with Rio Vallecano at Old Trafford and declared afterwards: “It’s nice to be back”.
The 37-year-old Portugal forward, who missed the club’s pre-season tours to Thailand and Australia for personal reasons, is reportedly keen to leave the club he rejoined last year.
Former Real Madrid and Juventus star Ronaldo finished as United’s top scorer last season with 24 goals.
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But the campaign as a whole was a huge disappointment for the club, with a sixth-placed finish in the Premier League meaning they missed out on qualifying for the Champions League.
Ronaldo was left out of United’s squad for Saturday’s friendly with Atletico Madrid in Oslo.
But, commenting on a post on a fan page about missing the game in Norway, Ronaldo wrote on Friday: “Domingo o re joga” which translates to “Sunday the king plays”.
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Ronaldo praised fans on both sides of the ground as he led the team out for pre-match warm-ups on Sunday.
The veteran forward had a clear-cut chance during his 45-minute appearance but headed over the bar after Donnie van de Beek ran onto a lay-off.
– ‘Happy to be back’ –
After the match, Ronaldo posted a photo of himself playing in the game on his Twitter feed with the caption “Gonna be happy”.
Glad to be back 💪🏽🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/Fp6dpBTXcb
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) 31 July 2022
United’s new manager, Erik ten Hague, told the club’s website: “It was a mix between experience and youth (today).
“You saw the attitude was really great, really cooperative. They fight and work for each other. It was positive.”
New signings Christian Eriksen and Lesandro Martinez were both made for the hour by the Hague-based players who did not feature in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat by Atletico.
Imad Diallo, who was on loan at Rangers last season, gave United the lead early in the second half when the 20-year-old Ivory Coast winger fired in the rebound after Alex Tellis’ shot was saved.
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However, United’s lead lasted just nine minutes as Alvaro Garcia equalized in style after Tom Heaton saved Isaac Palazon-Camacho’s early effort.
United open their Premier League campaign at home to Brighton on August 7.
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