Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo went to Portugal as it became evident he would miss Sunday’s derby against Manchester City.

The veteran forward was left out of Ralf Rangnick’s squad for Sunday’s humiliating 4-1 loss after complaining of a recurrence of the hip issue that sidelined him for two games in January.

Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez both scored twice as City cruised to win over their rivals, although Man United had leveled the score in the first half thanks to a magnificent strike from Jadon Sancho before the game got away from them.

Ronaldo’s possible absence had been speculated about in the build-up to the match, and Rangnick confirmed the injury just before kick-off.

According to The Athletic, Ronaldo was not even in the country when the match began, having returned to his native Portugal after it became clear he would not face Pep Guardiola’s side.

The article also says that some members of the Manchester United squad were taken aback by the last-minute journey on the night of such a pivotal match, when his simple presence in support of the team would have made a difference.

After the match, Rangnick said:

I have to believe our medical department. Our doctor came to me on Friday morning to say Cristiano couldn’t train because of some problems with his hip flexor and the same on Saturday.

Rangnick used an unconventional 4-2-4 formation in the absence of Ronaldo and fellow experienced forward Edinson Cavani, with midfielder Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes heading the attack, being flanked by Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga.

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