Cristiano Ronaldo’s ‘unacceptable’ early exit from friendly irks Erik ten Hag

The wantaway Manchester United forward was pictured with Diogo Dalot leaving Sunday’s game against Rayo Vallecano before full-time.

By Press Association Published: 3 August 2022 - 4.42pm

Erik ten Hag says it was “unacceptable” for Cristiano Ronaldo and other Manchester United players to leave Old Trafford before the end of Sunday’s friendly against Rayo Vallecano.

After taking a strong team to Oslo to face Atletico Madrid on Saturday, the Red Devils wrapped up their pre-season preparations against another Spanish side the following day.

United drew 1-1 with Rayo at Old Trafford as star man Ronaldo made his first appearance of pre-season, playing the first 45 minutes.

The 37-year-old missed the pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia due to a family issue, and the wantaway forward was pictured with Diogo Dalot leaving Sunday’s game before full-time.

Ten Hag did not speak to the media after the match but has now laid bare his annoyance to broadcaster Viaplay.

“There were many more (as well as Ronaldo) who went home,” the United boss said.

Asked if he condoned it, Ten Hag said: “Certainly not, this is unacceptable for everyone. I tell them that it’s unacceptable, that we are a team, a squad and that you should stay until the end.”

Manchester United v Rayo Vallecano – Pre Season Friendly – Old Trafford
Erik ten Hag says Cristiano Ronaldo is in his plans (Dave Thompson/PA)

Ten Hag will take charge of his first competitive match as United manager on Sunday when Brighton arrive at Old Trafford in the Premier League.

Whether Ronaldo will feature remains to be seen. Ten Hag insists the Portugal international can fit into his style of play, but only when he is fit enough.

In an interview with Sky Sports News, Ten Hag said: “I think he can, but to start with he has to get fit. He’s just started.

“He’s a fantastic football player, he proved it so many times. But you can always be judged by what you are now, what you are presenting now, performing now. The team, and Cristiano by himself, has to prove it.”

Ten Hag also refused to be drawn on United’s reported interest in Barcelona midfielder Frenkie De Jong.

“We know what we want and it’s not about signing players, it’s about signing the right players and we are working hard to get the right players in to construct a good squad,” he added.

“I don’t talk about players who are not under contract at Manchester United.”

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