Cristiano Ronaldo makes Man United return vs. Rayo Vallecano

Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Manchester United’s starting XI for Sunday’s friendly against Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford.

New signings Lisandro Martinez and Christian Eriksen were also named in a much-changed squad that lost 1-0 to Atletico Madrid on Saturday. Raphael Varane was named captain, while Tom Heaton, Donny van de Beek and Alex Telles also featured alongside youngsters Ethan Laird, Tahith Chong and Alejandro Garnacho.

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Ronaldo missed United’s tour of Thailand and Australia after taking time off for personal reasons.

During his absence, there was much speculation about the Portugal international’s future at United and ESPN reported that he wanted to leave to play in the Champions League.

However, Ronaldo, who has one year left on his United contract, returned to training on Tuesday. He was joined by his agent Jorge Mendes and held talks with new United manager Erik ten Hag.

On Saturday, following the 1-0 loss to Atletico Madrid, Ten Hag confirmed Ronaldo would play against Rayo in the United squad, something Ronaldo had already hinted at when he posted on Instagram: “Sunday, the king plays.”

Ten Hag said earlier this month he was looking forward to working with Ronaldo, who was their top scorer last season with 24 goals in all competitions.

United, however, finished sixth in the league and failed to qualify for the Champions League and will play in the second-tier Europa League this season.

Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich have both publicly distanced themselves from a move for the former Real Madrid and Juventus star. Another reported suitor, Chelsea, has also ruled out a deal, sources told ESPN. Cristiano Ronaldo makes Man United return vs. Rayo Vallecano

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