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Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick reacts to Cristiano Ronaldo’s trip to Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo missed Man United's derby defeat to Man City and flew off to Portugal before returning to training.

Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick did not know Cristiano Ronaldo had planned to fly to Portugal after he was declared unavailable for the derby.

Ronaldo missed the 4-1 thrashing by City on Sunday with a hip flexor injury that sidelined him for FA Cup and Premier League matches against Aston Villa in January.

The 37-year-old flew to Portugal as United players had a designated day off on Monday before reporting for training at the club’s Carrington training complex on Tuesday with the rest of the squad.

Ronaldo completed a full training session on Thursday and could return to the starting XI against Tottenham in United’s last Premier League fixture for three weeks.

Rangnick said in December he did not approve of Paul Pogba continuing his rehabilitation from a hamstring injury in Dubai but declined to offer an opinion on Ronaldo’s jet-setting.

“As I said, it happened last week,” Rangnick said of Ronaldo’s absence against City. “I didn’t know anything about that trip. It doesn’t make sense now to waste energy and deal with it because the games we have to play now are too important.

“I decided to put my focus on the upcoming games and not waste any energy with things that happened in the last six or seven days.”

When asked whether Ronaldo was fit enough to start against Spurs and then line up against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League round-of-16 second leg three days later, Rangnick added: “Right now we only think about tomorrow’s game, we don’t think at all about the game on Tuesday.

“The formation and line-up for tomorrow’s game has got nothing to do with Tuesday.”

Ronaldo scored a hat-trick against Atletico for Real Madrid in the semi-final first leg in 2017 and plundered another treble against them for Juventus in the round-of-16 second leg in 2019, securing a 3-2 comeback victory on aggregate.

Source: Manchester Evening News

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