The atmosphere at the Manchester United dressing room is tense after they were thrashed 4-1 by city rivals Manchester City on Sunday. However, it has been reported that tensions began even before the match started, especially after Cristiano Ronaldo allegedly ran off to Portugal after finding out that manager Ralf Rangnick had decided to start him from the bench.
To be fair, Ronaldo’s absence is being attributed to a hip injury rather than a dispute with the coach. However, according to The Sun, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was “stunned” upon learning that he would not be in the starting lineup in such an important match.
Rangnick made the call with the plan to bring Ronaldo in later so that he could make an impact with fresh legs while coming off the bench. The Portuguese star reportedly insisted that he could make a better contribution from a starting position, which fell on deaf ears.
Nevertheless, the official stance is that Ronaldo had suffered a hip injury, which led him to decide to fly back home to Portugal to recover. Despite this, multiple media outlets are claiming his Manchester United teammates were surprised when he didn’t show up at the team hotel on Saturday ahead of the Manchester derby.
Despite the speculations, Rangnick insists that the club’s medical team informed him of the hip flexor injury on Friday. “I have to believe my medical department. 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.”
Apart from Ronaldo, veteran striker Edinson Cavani was sidelined with a groin injury. Rangnick admitted that he hoped both players could have been available for the derby and that he now isn’t sure when they can return.
“We have two important games coming up against Spurs and Atletico and we have to focus on that,” he said. Ronaldo has not spoken up about the rumour, but his representatives confirmed the injury.