Cristiano Ronaldo ‘happy to be back’ at Manchester United

    The forward made his first appearance of pre-season on Sunday for Manchester United’s final friendly.

    Cristiano Ronaldo says he was ‘happy to be back’ after playing for Manchester United in a 1-1 friendly draw against Rayo Vallecano.

    The 37-year-old made his first United appearance since May 7 in a 45-minute cameo. He made a lively start and showed some decent link-up play, but faded towards the end of the first half. Amad Diallo replaced him during the break and scored just three minutes into the second period to put the Red Devils ahead.

    Alvaro Garcia Rivera, however, equalized nine minutes later to deny Ronaldo a winning return to Old Trafford.

    Nonetheless, the superstar shared a picture of himself at the game later on social media with the caption: “Happy to be back!”

    Will Ronaldo play in the season opener?

    Ronaldo’s reduced minutes on Sunday came as no surprise after manager Erik ten Hag admitted he is not on the same level as his teammates in terms of fitness.

    The Portugal captain, of course, missed the club’s preseason tour of Thailand and Australia to deal with a family issue.

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    “He is not on the level of the rest of the squad because he missed a lot of weeks,” Ten Hag told Viaplay before kick-off. “But he needs games and he needs training, a lot.”

    This leaves Ronaldo in a race against time to prove his fitness for this weekend.

    United will officially get their Premier League campaign underway this Sunday when they take on Brighton at Old Trafford.

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