Cristiano Ronaldo was pictured leaving Old Trafford during Manchester United’s pre-season friendly against Rayo Vallecano while the game was still going on.
Ronaldo had missed all of pre-season until returning to training in the last few days, with his desire to leave the club dominating headlines this month.
United, who are unable to offer Champions League football this season, are keen to retain the 37-year-old, whose agent Jorge Mendes recently visited the club’s Carrington training ground for talks.
Ronaldo trained with a young United squad on Saturday for the first time this summer, with other members of the squad in Norway for a friendly against Atletico Madrid. He was then named in the starting XI for the follow-up friendly against Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.
Ronaldo only played 45 minutes, which was to be expected given it is his first action of the summer, but fans stationed outside the stadium probably didn’t expect to see him leave while the game was still being played inside.
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It is unclear whether manager Erik ten Hag sanctioned Ronaldo’s departure, with the club unable to provide clarification when asked for comment by The Guardian.
The player took to social media later on and simply said, “Happy to be back”.
United will begin their 2022/23 Premier League season next weekend when Brighton visit Old Trafford.
Meanwhile, the summer transfer window remains open until 1 September for clubs across Europe.