Cristiano Ronaldo set for humiliating stint on Man Utd's bench for start of season

Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United during the pre-season friendly between Manchester United and Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford on July 31, 2022 in Manchester, England.

Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly set to start the season sitting on the bench after his antics this summer.

The 37-year-old has been desperate to leave Manchester United in the current transfer window after a disappointing campaign last year. The Red Devils finished sixth with their lowest-ever points tally in the Premier League and will ply their trade in the Europa League this season.

That is not good enough for Ronaldo, who believes he has to compete for the Champions League with what little time he has left on the football pitch. It has seen his agent, Jorge Mendes, jetting off across Europe trying to find a suitor including Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich.

There have been no buyers, though, and the Portugal international looks set to return to proceedings at United, where he has one year left on his contract. However, after missing most of Erik ten Hag’s pre-season drills and preparations, Ronaldo is woefully behind on match fitness.

While many are up to speed, as well as being taught the new manager’s philosophy, Ronaldo has played just 45 minutes of action this summer – a poor cameo against Rayo Vallecano last Sunday. It means that Ten Hag will start the talismanic forward on the bench when the Red Devils take on Brighton this weekend, report The Sun.

Jadon Sancho, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have been the preferred trio up front for United during pre-season and it is highly likely that they will play on Sunday at Old Trafford. And it could be some time before Ronaldo returns to the first-team fold as he continues to play catch-up with the rest of the squad.

The former Real Madrid and Juventus star has not reacted well to being benched in the past after blowing his top at Ralf Rangnick for sidelining him against Manchester City. United went on to lose 4-1 while Ronaldo jetted off to Portugal with a mystery injury.

And the striker was less than pleased after being subbed off against Rayo at the weekend after a tense moment between him and Ten Hag was spotted. Ronaldo was the only player to be hooked at half-time.

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