Manchester United have left Cristiano Ronaldo out of their team for their last pre-season friendly against Atletico Madrid in Oslo.
The 37-year-old wants to leave Old Trafford this summer, and despite the club’s insistence that he is not for sale, Erik ten Hag has left the forward out of his 21-man squad for Saturday’s game.
United are also scheduled to play Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford on Sunday, and while the Premier League club stated that players who did not travel to Oslo could play in Manchester the following day, Ten Hag is expected to field an experienced side of youth team players in their final pre-season outing.
Ronaldo’s future has been the subject of considerable conjecture since his absence from training on July 4 due to “family circumstances.” According to reports, the Portuguese wants to leave United in order to play Champions League football, and he did not accompany the club on its pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia.
Ronaldo went to United’s Carrington training center this week with agent Jorge Mendes for pre-season discussions with new manager Ten Hag. On Thursday night, he also made a cryptic social media message, calling out “lies” when it was alleged that Mendes was “less than positive” about Ronaldo’s decision.
“It’s impossible not to talk about me one day,” Ronaldo commented on Instagram. “Otherwise, the press loses money.” You understand that if you don’t lie, you won’t be able to get people’s attention. Keep going, and one day you’ll get some good news.”
New signees Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez, who did not participate in United’s preseason tour, have also been included in the team’s trip to Norway.
While some players, including midfielder Scott McTominay, have been out due to injury, United provided no explanation for Ronaldo’s absence in a terse statement confirming their roster for Saturday’s meeting.
Next Sunday, United will kick off their Premier League campaign at home against Brighton.