In order to be fully ready for the next Premier League season, returning superstar Cristiano Ronaldo will need to catch up with his Manchester United teammates.
That’s United manager Erik ten Hag’s message as Ronaldo prepares to make his first preseason outing at Old Trafford this afternoon (4pm). Ronaldo will be in the Rayo Vallecano matchday squad, as Ten Hag makes 11 changes from the side that lost 1-0 to Atletico Madrid on Saturday lunchtime.
Ronaldo was left at home for the journey to Oslo, despite having only returned to Carrington on Tuesday morning. He had crunch meetings with Ten Hag there, along with agent Jorge Mendes.
Ronaldo speculation continues, and no firm response has been given regarding his future, but he will lace up his boots against Spanish opponents. However, it is unclear how long the Portugal captain will be able to play as periphery players and bright youngsters compete for playing time.
Manager Ten Hag told Viaplay: “He [Ronaldo] will be in the squad.” We’ll see how long he can keep playing.
“I can’t tell you how to fit Ronaldo is right now.” He is not on the same level as the rest of the group since he has missed so many weeks, but he really needs games and conditioning.”
Due to a family situation, Ronaldo was unable to join the club’s tour to Thailand and Australia. During his absence, severe doubts about his future at United were raised, with Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, and PSG among the clubs to distance themselves from a high-profile move for him.