Cristiano Ronaldo played his first minutes of pre-season yesterday, but the forward is very much still looking to leave Old Trafford.
The 37-year-old did not return for pre-season training due to ‘family reasons’ and then missed United’s tour in Thailand and then Australia.
The forward played the first 45 minutes in the Red Devils’ 1-1 draw with Rayo Vallecano on Sunday, but he left the stadium before the final whistle.
Sportsmail understands that several other players, including Diogo Dalot, left Old Trafford early and it’s not something United are worried about or took issue with.
It’s not unusual that Ronaldo only played 45 minutes either given the Portuguese star had only trained for a couple of days before playing in his first friendly of the summer.
However, Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, is still actively trying to find his client a new club before the end of the transfer window and will do ‘everything he can’ to make a move happen, despite United standing firm that he will stay.
Reports have persisted all summer that Ronaldo wants to play at the highest level he can in the winter of his career and he wants to move to a club playing in the Champions League.
United’s seventh place finish last season does not afford him that, but finding Ronaldo a new suitor has proven harder work that perhaps Mendes imagined.
But just last week, Ronaldo had a pretty cryptic response to a fan account on Instagram, where he hit out at the media amid intense speculation over his next destination.
‘Impossible not to talk about me one day,’ Ronaldo wrote. ‘Otherwise the press makes no money. You know that if you don’t lie you can’t get people’s attention. Keep going that one day you get some news right.’
Sportsmail understands Ronaldo was referencing a claim in the post from the fan account that Sir Alex Ferguson had intervened in a desperate attempt to persuade the player to remain at Old Trafford.
But, it appears Ferguson’s meeting with the club and Ronaldo’s return to training the same day weren’t linked.
Ronaldo scored 24 goals in 38 games for United last season with 18 of those coming in the Premier League.