EPL

Ronaldo back in Man Utd training after Ten Hag olive branch

By Sports Desk October 25, 2022

Cristiano Ronaldo returned to training with Manchester United on Tuesday after Erik ten Hag backed the forward to play his way back into favour.

Superstar Ronaldo was dropped from United's squad for the game against Chelsea on Saturday, and briefly exiled from first-team involvement, after refusing to play as a substitute against Tottenham last week.

Leaving the bench before the final whistle and heading for the dressing room, before reportedly also heading out of the stadium early, also went down badly.

Yet Ronaldo, against many expectations, may still have a future with United.

His former team-mate Gary Neville has spoken of what appears an uneasy alliance between player and club, saying on Sky Sports that United and Ronaldo should "end it this week or create a truce to get to the World Cup and then end it".

The latter option may prove to be what United have opted for, given January presents an opportunity for Ronaldo to find another club, and a strong World Cup for Portugal might help to facilitate that.

Ten Hag said ahead of the Chelsea game that Ronaldo could still be "important" to United, though he stressed the 37-year-old's behaviour in the Tottenham game was "not acceptable". He indicated he would speak to Ronaldo before reintegrating him.

With Ronaldo now invited back to first-team training, it could mean he plays some part on Thursday when Moldovan side Sheriff visit Old Trafford in the Europa League.

United will book a place in the knock-out stage if they win, draw or avoid defeat by more than one goal.

After hitting 24 goals last season, his first term of a second spell with United, former Real Madrid and Juventus forward Ronaldo has just two goals to his credit in this campaign, including a penalty in United's 2-0 win over Sheriff in Chisinau last month.

Only two of Ronaldo's six starts this season have come in the Premier League, where he has featured six times as a substitute. In the Europa League, however, Ronaldo has started all four of United's games to date.

As well as seeing Ronaldo play a part on Tuesday, manager Ten Hag was boosted by the return to first-team training of Harry Maguire, Donny van de Beek and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, all back from injury.

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