Cristiano Ronaldo missed Manchester United’s highly anticipated Premier League showdown with Manchester City on Sunday, with the official explanation for his absence being due to injury.
However, according to subsequent reports, there appears to be more to this story than simply that.
In the hours leading up to that clash, which the Red Devils lost 4-1, rumours emerged claiming that both the Portuguese superstar and Uruguayan striker, Edinson Cavani, the club’s two best finishers, would miss the game. When the team news was released an hour before kickoff, it came as little surprise to see the five-time Ballon d’Or winner missing from both the starting XI and the bench.
However, according to the Sun, the former Real Madrid and Juventus ace was meant to make the bench. The British tabloid claimed that he was initially expected to feature, but as a sub. Unfortunately, when Ralf Rangnick informed the 37-year-old of his decision to omit him from the first eleven, the player was left upset.
The German boss wanted “fresh legs” and believed Ronaldo could play the super sub role. Cristiano wasn’t pleased with this decision as he felt he could have helped the team from the first minute, and in a move that has raised a few eyebrows, the legendary attacker complained of a hip injury before jetting off to Portugal shortly after being informed he would be benched.
According to the report, the Old Trafford icon believes that the warmer weather in his home country will aid in his recovery. Nonetheless, his Manchester United teammates were left stunned by this move as he was expected to be at the team hotel in the night before the Etihad Stadium clash.
Speaking after the game, the interim manager had this to say: “Our doctor came to see me Friday morning before training and said Cristiano could not train because of some problems with his hip flexor and the same Saturday.”