Cristiano Ronaldo started and played 45 minutes in Manchester United’s final pre-season friendly against Rayo Vallecano, which ended in a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The 37-year-old superstar hadn’t been involved in the 2022/23 Red Devils preparation so far, having already asked to leave the club this summer.
He missed the Asia and Australia tour for “family reasons” and returned to training earlier this week for talks over his future.
It is reported that he still intends to leave after these conversations, although the club remain adamant that they want to keep him.
Erik ten Hag has made it clear that he personally hopes CR7 stays and named him in his starting XI against Vallecano on Sunday.
A stronger United side lost 1-0 to Atletico Madrid in Oslo on Saturday and Sunday’s friendly against Vallecano was therefore an opportunity for the rest of Ten Hag’s squad to catch up.
Christian Eriksen also played for the Red Devils.
Before kick-off, Ronaldo was the first player out of the tunnel and received a warm welcome from the fans. He responded by applauding the bleachers.
When the match started, the first half was relatively lackluster.
Ronaldo opened up a half-decent chance over the bar, while Radamel Falcao nearly came back to haunt United as he failed to convert a near-post chance at the other end.
Christian Eriksen came closest hitting the post with a big effort from distance.
Ronaldo did not reappear in the second half as Amad Diallo took his place.
The substitution proved wise as Diallo opened the scoring less than three minutes later.
Alex Telles took a shot from range which was saved by Diego Lopez, but the 20-year-old followed through and fired home the rebound.
In the 52nd minute, Vallecano almost managed a quick response through Falcao who curled a shot from the edge of the box only to be denied by the crossbar.
Just five minutes later, Vallecano was indeed level.
Isi Palazon advanced down the right and forced Heaton to save Heaton as Telles fell back.
Like United’s goal, Alvaro Garcia Rivera replicated Diallo following to fire a rebound home.
Vallecano had a few chances for the win, but they were eventually denied and the game ended 1-1.
However, an image posted to Twitter suggests Ronaldo was not present when the full-time whistle went with an image on social media appearing to show him leaving Old Trafford before the game was over. However, the club are yet to comment on the matter.