Erik ten Hag makes Ronaldo fitness admission ahead of his Man Utd return

Cristiano Ronaldo
(Photo by Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo’s fitness is currently behind other members of his squad.

The Portuguese is expected to play some part in United’s final pre-season friendly ahead of the new Premier League campaign when they host Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford later this afternoon.

Ronaldo was not part of United’s 21-man squad for the 1-0 defeat against Atletico Madrid in Oslo yesterday and will today take his first steps to increase his match fitness ahead of the visit of Brighton and Hove Albion next weekend.

The 37-year-old only returned to Carrington on Tuesday after talks were held between the club and his agent Jorge Mendes.

Ronaldo sat out United club’s tour to Thailand and Australia as the result of a family matter and had been seen training back in his native Portugal (Daily Star).

Ten Hag said:  “He [Ronaldo] will be in the squad. We’ll see how long he can play.

“I cannot tell in this moment [how fit Ronaldo is]. He is not on the level of the rest of the squad because he missed a lot of weeks, but he needs games and he needs training, a lot.”

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Ronaldo simply needs match fitness to bring himself up to the levels of the rest of the squad, given the strict regime he follows to keep himself in prime condition even during the off-season.

Hopefully, he can continue to do the talking on the field and all the speculation over his future dies down, instead, it could prove to be an unhelpful distraction to Ten Hag as he looks to turn United’s fortunes around.