Cristiano Ronaldo was named in the Manchester United starting XI to face Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The Portugal sensation, 37, has not featured in the Red Devils’ pre-season until now after asking 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.
This will be Ronaldo’s first appearance under new manager Erik ten Hag, who wants to keep the forward.
The United legend was the first player out of the tunnel and received a warm reception from supporters, despite his well-known wish to leave, and responded by applauding the stands.
Ronaldo takes to the field in a second-string United XI, as the legendary goalscorer continues to work his way back to full fitness.
A full-strength XI lost 1-0 to Atletico Madrid in Oslo on Saturday and the friendly against Rayo Vallecano is an opportunity for the rest of Ten Hag’s squad to get up to speed.
Earlier this weekend, the Portuguese superstar vowed on Instagram that he will make a return, and United then confirmed he will be in the squad.
Responding to an Instagram post commenting on his omission from the United squad in Norway, he said: “Domingo o rei joga,” or “Sunday, the king plays.”
BACK IN ACTION
Ronaldo plays 45 minutes for Man United in final pre-season friendly
After United’s defeat to Atletico, manager Ten Hag said about Ronaldo: “Tomorrow he will be in the squad. We’ll see how long he can play.”
It will be Ronaldo’s first match for the club since the 4-0 defeat at Brighton on May 7 – and many believed he would never play in a United shirt again.
It is understood Ronaldo remains determined to leave the club this summer, but plans to stay professional while negotiations take place.
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