Unlike the swatter in the Manchester derby, Cristiano Ronaldo is in the starting XI in the Europa League. The Portuguese remains unlucky against the blatant outsider Omonia Nicosia. The 37-year-old is set to leave Manchester United soon.
Despite an extremely unlucky Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United got their next win in the Europa League. The Red Devils came after a break deficit at the blatant outsider Omonia Nicosia to a 3: 2 (0: 1) and are thus on course for the knockout round. With six points, the English club are second in Group E, three adrift of undamaged Spaniards Real Sociedad San Sebastian.
After failing to come on as a substitute in the 6-3 Manchester derby defeat by City four days earlier, Ronaldo played through against Cyprus Cup winners. However, the superstar missed some of the best opportunities. The 78th minute was symbolic of this when the 37-year-old shot the post from a free-standing distance of almost six yards. In stoppage time, he flicked the ball just wide of the goal from the best position and roared his frustration into the evening sky. Aside from converting his chances, however, Ronaldo played well.
Ronaldo's second spell at Manchester United is set to end soon. Coach Erik ten Hag hardly ever relies on the superstar, according to "Telegraph", unlike in the summer, he should now agree to a change if there is a suitable offer for a striker in the winter transfer window. Ronaldo's contract runs until June 30, 2023, he returned last year to the club where he had played from 2003 to 2009 and where his career had taken off.
The Portuguese was reportedly keen to leave the English record champions in the summer as the five-time Champions League winners wanted to play in the premier club again. But ten Hag insisted he stay. Now he hardly plays a role under the coach.
The fact that he didn't play in the Manchester derby, in which City stars Erling Haaland and Phil Foden each scored a hat trick, had other reasons: "I didn't bring Cristiano out of respect for his great career," explained ten Hag after the game. He wanted to spare him the shame on the pitch. Ronaldo made just one start in the Premier League, in the 4-0 defeat by Brentford on Matchday 2. It's different in the Europa League: the Portuguese has been in the starting XI in all three games so far.