EPL

Ronaldo makes Manchester United return in final pre-season match

By Sports Desk July 31, 2022

Cristiano Ronaldo made his first Manchester United appearance under Erik ten Hag in the final pre-season match against Rayo Vallecano ahead of the new campaign.

The 37-year-old has made his desire to leave United before the close of the transfer window at the end of August clear but has found suitors for his services difficult to come by.

Having missed the squad's pre-season tour of the Far East and Australia due to family reasons, Ronaldo was once again absent for the defeat against Atletico Madrid in Oslo on Saturday.

It was confirmed, however, that Ronaldo would feature in Sunday's friendly against Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford - with the former Real Madrid and Juventus star named in the starting line-up.

Ronaldo played the first half at Old Trafford before being replaced at the interval by Amad Diallo, who promptly opened the scoring immediately upon his introduction.

With just 45 minutes of pre-season football under his belt, Ronaldo seems unlikely to play the entirety of Manchester United's pre-season opener against Brighton and Hove Albion next weekend.

Ten Hag has already made that clear, saying on Saturday that he was not "on the level" of his teammates.

"I cannot tell in this moment [how fit he is]. He is not on the level of the rest of the squad because he missed a lot of weeks. But he needs games and he needs training, a lot," he said following the defeat to Atletico.

Related items

  • Martinez to Bayern links 'no surprise' to Inter striker's camp Martinez to Bayern links 'no surprise' to Inter striker's camp

    Lautaro Martinez's agent Alejandro Camano is not surprised by reports linking the Inter forward with Bayern Munich, insisting the Argentine is one of the world's top 10 players.

    Martinez scored 21 goals in 35 league outings as Inter finished as Serie A runners-up last season, and has begun the new campaign with three strikes in eight top-flight appearances.

    With Bayern struggling in the Bundesliga after opting against signing a direct replacement for Robert Lewandowski in the recent transfer window, the Bavarian giants have been touted as potential suitors for Martinez.

    Camano told TyC Sports such interest does not come as a surprise and revealed the 25-year-old rejected transfer offers in the latest window in order to focus on Inter.

    "I wouldn't be surprised because there are always requests, but Lautaro has very clear ideas," he said about the Bayern reports.

    "Today he thinks about Inter and the World Cup.

    "In the last market there were possibilities to leave for impressive figures, but he has understood that it was better not to change.

    "Lautaro is among the top 10 players in the world, and although I have many calls, he has two priorities by the end of the year: Inter and the national team. 

    "He is mature, with a nice family to accompany him, with an atmosphere of tranquillity, which is always important. He feels loved by Italians and Argentines.

    "He started the year with a beautiful project, with an Inter that was built in a powerful way. The truth is that winning the World Cup would be the icing on the cake for him."

    Alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria, Martinez has impressed in a fluid Argentina attack recently, with Lionel Scaloni leading his side to a 35-match unbeaten run.

    Argentina are just two games short of matching Italy's record 37-match unbeaten run in international football, and Camano believes they will be serious contenders at the World Cup.

    "Not only are Argentina a candidate, but those of us who know Lionel Scaloni know that he has the same leadership mentality he had when he played," he added. 

    "Lautaro's hope is the same as the others - they want to make people happy.

    "Winning a World Cup is not easy, but the team is ready to reach this goal."

  • 'Playing in Europe is always great' – Arteta relishing Europa League challenge despite Champions League aim 'Playing in Europe is always great' – Arteta relishing Europa League challenge despite Champions League aim

    Mikel Arteta said Arsenal will not take participating in the Europa League for granted ahead of Thursday's tie with Bodo/Glimt, but acknowledges the Gunners have loftier ambitions.

    Arsenal sit top of the Premier League table after a scintillating start to the season; only twice have they bettered this campaign's return of 21 points after eight games in the competition, earning 22 points in 2004-05 and 2007-08. 

    Having missed out to Tottenham in a fierce battle for Champions League qualification last term, however, Arsenal are competing with Bodo/Glimt, PSV and FC Zurich in Group A of Europe's second-tier competition. 

    While Arteta knows Champions League football must be the aim for his team, he said Arsenal will "make the most" of their continental campaign.

    "Playing in Europe is always great. We know we would want to be playing yesterday or today, but that's the next step," he said on Wednesday. 

    "This is the reality, and we have to make the most of it.

    "It's a test for the squad, in terms of the numbers and the quality. If you make changes, how much you notice it, whether you can continue consistently playing at the top level.

    "Everyone's going to have to do that after the World Cup, especially with the schedule.

    "It's a competition that is really important for us, we know how important it is to be on top of the group and the home advantage, we have to use it."

    Meanwhile, William Saliba and Bukayo Saka have both expressed confidence they will sign new contracts after emerging as key components in Arteta's side, and the Arsenal boss says the club is working on deals for the duo, as well as fresh terms for Gabriel Martinelli.

    Arsenal have been forced to sell several stars after allowing them to run their contracts down in the past, but Arteta moved to quell fears of a repeat, adding: "Obviously we have to plan for the future, and we are all working on it.

    "Edu is on top of it, and all the board. We will try to do things in the right way, being fair, and rewarding the players that – in our opinion – have a big future for the club.

    "When we have something to announce, we will do it. Every player is different and what happened in the past, the people that were in charge had the right reasons.

    "We will try to do the same thing and make sure the club is always protected, that the club is always in a good position to move forward, and the players are happy."

    Arsenal saw their first scheduled home game of the Europa League campaign, against PSV, postponed following the death of Queen Elizabeth II last month, and will look to end a poor continental run at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday.

    The Gunners have failed to win any of their last three home European matches (D2 L1), their worst such run since they went six without victory between October 2002 and September 2003.

  • Former Juventus and Inter defender Asamoah announces retirement Former Juventus and Inter defender Asamoah announces retirement

    Former Juventus and Inter full-back Kwadwo Asamoah has announced his retirement from playing at the age of 33.

    Asamoah, who was capped 74 times by Ghana and appeared at two World Cups, most recently featured for Cagliari at club level in the 2020-21 season.

    He confirmed on social media he has officially called time on one chapter of his career and will now become a player agent.

    Versatile defender Asamoah started his career at Udinese and made 279 appearances in Serie A – the most for an African player in the competition's history.

    Asamoah joined Juve from Udinese in July 2012 and won 13 titles across six seasons with the Turin giants before spending two years with Inter.

    Injuries curtailed his time at Cagliari, for whom he made his final appearance in a goalless draw against Milan in May 2021.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.