'The king plays' – Ronaldo to make Man Utd return in Rayo Vallecano friendly

·2-min read

Cristiano Ronaldo has appeared to confirm he will make his return to the Manchester United side for Sunday's friendly with Rayo Vallecano.

The Portugal international has yet to feature in pre-season amid widespread reports he is seeking a move away from Old Trafford, less than a year on from returning to the club.

Further doubts were raised over Ronaldo's future when he was not included as part of United's 21-man travelling party ahead of Saturday's meeting with Atletico Madrid in Oslo.

However, responding to a tweet from a fan page announcing he would not play in either of United's friendlies this weekend, Ronaldo replied: "Sunday, the king plays".

Should he feature against Rayo, it will be the first time Ronaldo has put on the United shirt since the 4-0 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion on May 7.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner sat out the final game of last season through injury and was not present for the Red Devils' four friendlies on their tour of Thailand and Australia.

Ronaldo was back at United's Carrington training base this week for talks, but widespread reports suggest he is still seeking a move to a team competing in the Champions League.

He scored 18 Premier League goals last season – only Mohamed Salah and Son Heung-min (both 23) netted more – but United still finished in sixth with their lowest ever points tally.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored 18 Premier League goals for Manchester United last season
Cristiano Ronaldo scored 18 Premier League goals for Manchester United last season

The 24 goals Ronaldo scored in all competitions in 2021-22 were 14 more than next-best Bruno Fernandes, with no other United player reaching double-figures in a dire season.

Ronaldo was particularly active on social media on Friday, having earlier responded to a post suggesting his agent Jorge Mendes had held talks with United's hierarchy.

"Impossible not to talk about me [for] one day," he wrote. "Otherwise the press makes no money.

"You know that if you don't lie, you can't get people's attention. Keep going that one day you [get] some news right."

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