Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo is set to miss his side’s pre-season friendly with Atletico Madrid as he looks to build his fitness ahead of the new season, despite remaining keen on a move away from Old Trafford this summer.
The 37-year-old striker missed the first two weeks of the Red Devils’ pre-season tour, remaining in Portugal as he cited family issues, even as speculation continued to swirl about his potential future lying away from Old Trafford.
Now back in England, but still yet to return to training with his teammates, the Times report that the veteran forward is expected to miss the pre-season clash with Atletico, due to take place on Saturday lunchtime.
‘While the squad fly to Norway today for the game in Oslo, it is possible, however, that he could play at Old Trafford on Sunday against Rayo Vallecano’, they add.
Atletico to hand him frosty reception
Were Ronaldo to take part in the clash with his former rivals, it is likely he would have received a frosty reception, with stories linking the striker with a move back to Madrid to turn out for the RojaBlanco having been blasted by their fanbase.
‘Given the possibility that the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo is more than just a rumour we express our absolute rejection of any hypothetical incorporation into our club’, the Spanish club’s fan group wrote.
‘The aforementioned player represents the antithesis of the values that are the hallmarks of our Atleti, such as effort, generosity, simplicity and humility.
‘Even in the unlikely event that a player in decline such as Cristiano Ronaldo could secure a title; we would not accept his signing.
‘The sense of belonging to our Atletico is not something that is within his reach, to his misfortune, so he could never achieve our affection or recognition. Therefore, we ask the club to reject his possible signing, if he has ever been considered.’
Ronaldo still reportedly has his heart set on a departure, but Atletico Madrid is seeming an increasingly unlikely destination for the striker. Meanwhile, links to Sporting Lisbon are being considered once more, despite Ronaldo branding them fake earlier in the summer.