By Jackson Cole
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of football’s greatest ever players but that may not be enough to earn him a starting spot in Manchester United’s first game of the season.
The 37-year-old missed the Premier League side’s pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia, with family issues being cited as the reason behind his absence.
He’s made just one appearance for Man United this summer, playing for 45 minutes in their 1-1 draw to Rayo Vallecano last weekend.
And that won’t be enough for Erik ten Hag to start the five-time Ballon d’Or winner for the Red Devils’ season opener, according to The Sun.
The report adds Ten Hag is expected to start Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial for Man United’s clash at home to Brighton on Sunday.
Sancho, Rashford and Martial have worked well together during pre-season, the trio all netting in a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace in July.
Ronaldo being benched will do nothing to silence the speculation surrounding his future at the club, with the Portuguese keen to sign for a team playing in the Champions League this season.
He played no part in Man United’s 4-1 defeat to Manchester City in March with The Sun saying Ronaldo reacted angrily to Ralf Rangnick deciding to make him an impact substitute.
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Ronaldo was criticised after being pictured leaving Old Trafford before the full-time whistle went in their pre-season clash against Rayo Vallecano.
“It doesn’t look good,” Danny Murphy told talkSPORT.
“I don’t think whatever your grievances are or however big a name you are you should do that. I think it gives a horrible message and it has to be dealt with.”
But despite his apparent desperation to leave, Man United have insisted Ronaldo, who still has 12 months to run on his current deal, is not for sale this summer.
The Premier League is back and talkSPORT has it covered, with games on Friday, Saturday and Monday, beginning with Crystal Palace vs Arsenal on 5 August