Cristiano Ronaldo played in Manchester United’s match against Rayo Vallecano today amidst speculation he could be moving on.
The Portugal captain has informed the club that he is intent on seeking Champions League football elsewhere and had talks with Richard Arnold and John Murtough on Tuesday.
The CEO and Football Director reiterated their stance that Ronaldo was not for sale, but at Old Trafford today, the striker did little to suggest that stance was merited.
Blazing a chance over the bar early on set up the story of Ronado’s first half.
He later had another chance, this time firing wide across the keeper, and was closer to scoring on this occasion.
However, it was a situation in which Anthony Martial would probably have squared Tahith Chong for an open goal.
Aside from that Ronaldo – in fairness – looked a lot like a player short for fitness, with his touch often heavy as he lacked a yard of pace.
But lacking in match sharpness because of his refusal to join his teammates on tour will win him little sympathy around Old Trafford.
Regardless of his belated preparations, it is hard to see how Ronaldo would fit into Ten Hag’s possession-hungry possession set up.
Hooked at half time, Ronaldo saw out-of-position Amad score with his second touch – a goal that was a direct result of a turnover following United’s young attack pressing high up the pitch.
While the Ivorian has not exactly set the world alight in preseason, he showed good desire to beat his marker to the ball in the six-yard box.
If Ronaldo does end up staying, he is unlikely to be ready to bring much desire against Brighton next week, going by this performance.