Man United fans send strong message to Cristiano Ronaldo after he left Old Trafford before match ends against Rayo Vallecano
Manchester United’s friendly versus Rayo Vallecano was intended to give youth and fringe players a chance to play. The focus was meant to be on Manchester United’s game against Atletico Madrid on Saturday, but that all changed because of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo declared his wish to quit the club earlier this month, and he was unable to join United on their tour of Thailand and Australia. On Tuesday morning, he reported for training, and he was accompanied by agent Jorge Mendes for discussions about his future. Later in the week, Ronaldo began grass training, but he was not named to United’s squad for their trip to Oslo, Norway.
Instead, Ronaldo was checking social media posts about himself, and he verified that he will be playing against Rayo Vallecano in the comments of a dedicated fan account. “On Sunday, the king plays,” Ronaldo wrote modestly.
United fans were understandably furious at Ronaldo for threatening to leave the club, but all seemed forgotten when he appeared on the field to warm up before Vallecano. Ronaldo received applause from the Stretford End, which he returned.
Despite his lack of fitness, Ronaldo seemed sharp and lively when he spoke to Ten Hag about the 30-minute mark. Ronaldo is Ten Hag’s biggest personality, and he’s so far risen to the occasion in difficult circumstances.
Raphael Varane was injured for the majority of Manchester United’s tour, limiting him to just 68 minutes against Liverpool and Aston Villa. Varane’s injury history is a source of concern, and he risks being an unimpressive addition.
Varane’s fitness cannot be trusted, which is why Ten Hag signed Lisandro Martinez this summer. Martine is a left-footed center-back who appears to have been signed to start, maybe with club captain Harry Maguire.
Maguire has played on the right side of the defensive midfield during the preseason, implying that Ten Hag was training him to play with the left-footed Lisandro Martinez. Maguire and Martinez could be Ten Hag’s first-choice center-backs, but Varane is a world-class player when healthy, and he started against Vallecano while also wearing the captain’s armband.
Varane started with Martinez and looked slightly off the pace, which was unsurprising given his lack of playing time this summer, but it was hardly the type of performance that would impress Ten Hag ahead of the new season.
The Frenchman’s quality is undeniable, but he faces a battle to keep his place in the club’s defensive pecking order.
Ten Hag needs press-ups.
Ten Hag has excelled during the preseason, and his methods appear to be working well with the players. Ten Hag is the authoritarian figure that the locker room required, and his press-up punishments have been a fun training element.
When United warmed up for games this summer, they were required to do press-ups when they lost the ball, but it would be strange to see that continue into the new season. Regardless, Ten Hag is boosting morale while raising expectations.
Garnacho has returned.
Alejandro Garnacho was last at Old Trafford in May, when the U18s won the FA Youth Cup. Garnacho scored twice in the final that night, although he did not feature on United’s tour of Thailand and Australia.
Garnacho would have been sad not to have played in those four games or against Atletico Madrid in Oslo, Norway, but he took advantage of his chance when he started against Rayo Vallecano. From the first whistle, Garnacho appeared lively and imaginative.
His daring surges forward have already become a signature of his performances, and he’ll only improve as his decision-making improves. Garnacho showed glimpses of quality, and now the task for the player is to sustain those moments.
Garnacho played a great 70 minutes, and he was met with thunderous acclaim as he exited the field.