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Cristiano Ronaldo's Early Manchester United Friendly Exit 'Unacceptable,' per Ten Hag

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 3, 2022

Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag criticized players who left Old Trafford before the end of Sunday's friendly fixture against Rayo Vallecano, including Cristiano Ronaldo.

ESPN's Rob Dawson reported Ronaldo and full-back Diogo Dalot were among the players photographed leaving the stadium before the final whistle, which drew the ire of United's new coach on Tuesday.

"It is unacceptable for everyone," Ten Hag told Viaplay Sport Netherlands. "I am telling them it's unacceptable. We are a team. A squad. Until the end we stay together."

Ronaldo has spent most of the summer awaiting a transfer that would allow him to compete in the UEFA Champions League this season, but a move hasn't materialized.

AS' Manuel Sainz reported Monday (via Alex Turk of the Daily Express), the 37-year-old forward's agent, Jorge Mendes, has been trying to generate transfer talks with top European clubs to no avail.

Meanwhile, the club has maintained there are no plans to sell Ronaldo, even if interest does arrive, and that stance didn't change following Sunday's walkout, per Jeremy Cross and Jacob Leeks of the Daily Mirror.

So, barring a massive twist in the coming days, the five-time Ballon d'Or will remain on the Red Devils roster as they open the Premier League term Sunday by hosting Brighton & Hove Albion.

Ronaldo recorded 18 goals and three assists across 30 Premier League appearances for United last season. He added six goals in seven UCL matches.

His return to Old Trafford, where he previously played from 2003 through 2009, came after stints with Real Madrid and Juventus. He's two goals away from 700 across all competitions in his club career.

The start of the new season will carry added importance as he attempts to find peak form before joining the Portugal national team for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in November.

For now, that effort appears it'll happen under Ten Hag with United despite his desire to find a transfer solution.

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