Cristiano Ronaldo has announced that he will play for Manchester United in their friendly against Rayo Vallecano.
Ronaldo has been absent throughout pre-season after scoring 24 goals across all competitions during the 2021/22 campaign.
Man Utd failed to qualify for the Champions League and this clearly upset the forward, who has looked to leave the club this summer.
Ronaldo boldly denied reports that he wants out on Friday after no one showed an interest in him.
His contract is not due to expire until 2023 and he is now set to remain at the club during Erik ten Hag’s first season in charge.
Man Utd face Spanish side Rayo Vallecano in their final pre-season friendly on Sunday. As relayed by Fabrizio Romano, Ronaldo – via Instagram – has stated: “Sunday, the king plays”.
Ex-Arsenal player Merson – who regularly criticised Ronaldo last season – still thinks Man Utd would be better off selling the 37-year-old this summer:
“Manchester United have got to draw the line and get rid of Cristiano Ronaldo. The saga has to end sooner rather than later,” Merson wrote for The Daily Star.
“He’s told you what he wants, so why hang onto him? The lad won’t be sitting at home doing nothing but he hasn’t played any football and is now 37. Every footballer will tell you that to get fit you’ve got to play football matches, that’s why they have pre-season friendlies.
“I really don’t know how the fans are going to take it now because he’s made it abundantly clear he wants to leave. Nobody wants him and he’s stuck in limbo. I think United would have loved it if he’d have gone, of course they would but it’s the way you do it. If they just say ‘see you later Ronaldo’ the fans will go crazy.”
He added: “Their striker is 37, that’s not very good recruitment. You’re also appointing a manager in Erik ten Hag for a long-term plan, you’re not just bringing him in for a year or two.
“So for him to have a plan, surely you’ve got to get started straight away. Ronaldo is not going to be there next season whatever happens. Even if he is, he’s another year older. This game now is getting quicker and quicker, so for me, United need a new centre-forward in the transfer market.”