The five-time Ballon d’Or winner at long last returned to Manchester United’s Carrington training base earlier this week after asking the board if he could leave this summer
New Manchester United midfielder Christian Eriksen wasted very little time getting off the mark for the Red Devils by netting in his first pre-season friendly – in full view of Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 37-year-old icon has finally returned to the club after personal reasons meant he could not return for pre-season training at the expected time. The Portugal captain had asked the United hierarchy if he could leave the club if a Champions League team came in for him just days before his unexpected absence.
He has since returned for crisis talks with new manager Erik ten Hag and spent his Thursday afternoon watching on as his teammates took on Wrexham in another game to boost fitness before the new season starts.
The contest also provided Ten Hag with the chance to hand new recruits Eriksen and defender Lisandro Martinez with their first non-competitive minutes while donning the famous United shirt.
It was a chance Eriksen in particular seized with both hands, netting his first goal for the club against the National League side. Martinez was also involved in the build-up play for the Denmark international’s first United goal.
Man United went on to win the friendly 4-1 against Wrexham.
As of yet, it is unclear whether Ronaldo was left impressed with Eriksen’s effort as the club legend cast a keen eye over proceedings while speculation surrounding his future continues to rumble on with little sign of any conclusion.
The former Real Madrid man is yet to actually train again, with his first visit back to Carrington after the summer conducted purely so Ronaldo could hold contract talks with Ten Hag and those above him in the United pecking order.
It is expected that Ronaldo will train by himself on a separate programme before slowly being reintegrated back into the first-team fold. His desire to leave has not changed but potential suitors are proving hard to come by.
Bayern Munich were at one stage viewed as the favourites for his signature, but the club CEO Oliver Kahn has since admitted there is little chance that Ronaldo will be lining up at the Allianz next term.
“We discussed this issue because otherwise, we would not be doing our job properly,” Kahn told SportBild magazine. “I personally consider Cristiano Ronaldo one of the greatest footballers ever on this planet.
“But we came to the conclusion that despite all the appreciation for Cristiano, he would not have fit in our philosophy in the current situation.”