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CR7 left for Portugal after being benched vs City

Unhappy Cristiano? CR7 reportedly jetted off to Portugal after being told he wouldn't start in Manchester Derby

March 7, 2022 By Ali M.
Ronaldo missed Sunday's 4-1 loss at the Etihad Stadium due to a hip issue, but according to the latest reports, there is a lot more to this story than simply that.

Cristiano Ronaldo missed Manchester United's highly-anticipated Premier League showdown with Manchester City yesterday, 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, rumors 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 claim 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.

Did Rangnick lie to keep this story from leaking to the press? The answer seems to be no as the Sun claim that Cristiano's hip injury was the information relayed to him by the club's medical department. 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."

This development is just the latest undesirable behind-the-scenes issue to plague the Red Devils amid their horrendous season. A brace from Kevin de Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez each condemned the 20-time English champions to an embarrassing defeat, with close rivals Arsenal leapfrogging them in the table despite having played three extra games.

Next up for the Red Devils are three tricky home games, with Rangnick's men set to host Tottenham, Atletico Madrid, and Leicester between now and the beginning of April. Progression to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals would be welcomed, but what is most worrying for the club is their top-four race, meaning victories over Spurs and the Foxes are imperative. 

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