Cristiano Ronaldo started and played 45 minutes in Manchester United’s final pre-season friendly against Rayo Vallecano, which ended in a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The 37-year-old superstar had not featured in the Red Devils’ 2022/23 preparations up to this point, having previously asked to leave the club this summer.
He missed the tour of Asia and Australia due to ‘family reasons’ and returned to training earlier this week for showdown talks over his future.
It’s reported that he still intends to leave following these conversations, though the club remain adamant that they want to keep him.
Erik ten Hag has made it clear that he personally hopes CR7 will stay and named him in his starting XI against Vallecano on Sunday.
A stronger United team lost 1-0 to Atletico Madrid in Oslo on Saturday and so the friendly against Vallecano on Sunday was an opportunity for the rest of Ten Hag’s squad to get up to speed.
Christian Eriksen also featured for the Red Devils.
Prior to kick-off, Ronaldo was the first player out of the tunnel and received a warm reception from supporters. He responded by applauding the stands.
When the game got underway, the first half was relatively lacklustre.
Ronaldo blazed a half-decent opportunity over the bar, while Radamel Falcao nearly returned to haunt United as he failed to convert a near-post chance at the other end.
Christian Eriksen came closest as he hit the post with a great effort from distance.
Ronaldo did not re-emerge for the second half as Amad Diallo took his place.
The substitution proved a wise one as Diallo opened the scoring less than three minutes later.
Alex Telles took a shot from distance which was saved by Diego Lopez, but the 20-year-old followed up and fired home the rebound.
In the 52nd minute, Vallecano nearly came up with a swift response through Falcao who curled a shot from the edge of the box only to be denied by the crossbar.
Just five minutes later, Vallecano were indeed level.
Isi Palazon drove forwards on the right and forced a save out of Heaton as Telles backed off.
Similarly to United’s goal, Alvaro Garcia Rivera replicated Diallo by following in to fire home a rebound.
Vallecano had a couple of chances to nick the win, but they were ultimately denied and the match ended 1-1.
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