Manchester United fans have reacted furiously to the news of Cristiano Ronaldo leaving Old Trafford before the full-time whistle of their final pre-season friendly against Rayo Vallecano. The two sides clashed on Sunday (July 31) in a game that ended in a 1-1 draw.
Following an ineffective first-half, the 37-year-old was hooked at half-time for Amad Diallo, who put the Red Devils ahead shortly after coming on. The Spanish side equalized nine minutes later. Erik ten Hag was able to give many of his players minutes on the pitch before their opening Premier League game next weekend.
This was Cristiano Ronaldo's first game for the club in 12 weeks after he was absent from their pre-season tour. This came amid relentless rumors that he wants to leave the club this summer in search of first-team football.
Following his goalless display, The Manchester Evening News reported that the five-time Ballon d'Or winner was spotted leaving Old Trafford around the 80th-minute mark. He left along with Portugal teammate Diogo Dalot.
Manchester United refused to comment on whether Ten Hag sanctioned their early exit from the ground. The Dutch boss was not questioned on the issue by MUTV after the game.
Ronaldo was the only player subbed off at half time as he aimed to get up to speed with the rest of the squad in his first match back. However, supporters were unimpressed by the legendary forward leaving before the final whistle. Many questioned his commitment to the club on Twitter:
Erik ten Hag believes Cristiano Ronaldo is not on the same fitness levels as his Manchester United teammates
After being absent for the majority of United's pre-season, the former Real Madrid forward is seemingly way behind in terms of the required fitness levels to be in Ten Hag's team.
The Dutchman demands high intensity from his side and a high press from his attackers. This is something Ronaldo has rarely been asked to do in the latter stages of his career.
On the Portugal captain's fitness, Ten Hag told Sky Sports (as quoted by The Mirror):
"I cannot tell in this moment. He is definitely not on the level of our current squad, because he missed a lot of week. So he needs games and he needs a lot of training."
Cristiano Ronaldo scored 24 goals in 38 appearances across competitions for United last term following his return. However, United missed out on Champions League qualification following a disastrous campaign in which they finished sixth.