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Soccer

Cristiano Ronaldo missing from Man Utd squad for Atletico friendly

The Portuguese striker and Manchester United continue to discuss the player’s future with hopes that Ronaldo may face Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.

Update:
Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United
Ash DonelonGetty

Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo remains absent from Manchester United’s first-team squad a week out from the new Premier League season.

The United number seven was not included in a 21-man group travelling to Oslo for Saturday’s friendly against Atletico Madrid.

That news was confirmed by United on Friday, only nine days before their league campaign begins at home to Brighton and Hove Albion.

Ahead of that game, Ronaldo is yet to feature in pre-season amid widespread reports he has asked to be allowed to leave the club.

United failed to secure Champions League football as they finished sixth in Ronaldo’s first season back at the club in 2021-22 – as close to Aston Villa in 14th as they were to the top four in terms of points.

Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United
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Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester UnitedSoccrates ImagesDiarioAS

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner seemingly wants to leave Old Trafford for a second time in order to play in Europe’s elite club competition, in which he is the record goalscorer.

Ronaldo was back at United’s Carrington training centre this week for talks, but progress on a transfer appears no further forward.

Ready for Rayo?

United have insisted they intend to keep Ronaldo, while there are few clear suitors for the 37-year-old.

Atletico are among those who have been linked, and they will face a United side missing Ronaldo but featuring the majority of their other star names.

Lisandro Martinez and Christian Eriksen could each make their United debuts.

There remains the possibility Ronaldo could make his pre-season bow this weekend, as United play Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.

“Some of those absent from the squad will take part in Sunday’s game against Rayo Vallecano, while others are ill or injured,” United said.