Manchester United squad was reportedly left surprised by Cristiano Ronaldo’s decision to fly Portugal instead of staying to support the squad for their clash against Manchester City.
The 37-year-old was ruled out of Sunday’s Manchester derby due to a hip flexor injury, and according to The Athletic, Ronaldo traveled back to his hometown on Sunday before kick-off at The Etihad stadium.
According to the report, some of the Manchester United squad were taken aback and felt his participation in the matchday squad would have been useful.
United were swept aside by City, the Premier League’s leaders, without Ronaldo in a ruthless show by Pep Guardiola’s side.
City won all three points thanks to two goals each from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez.
In the first half, United equalized through Jacho, but that was the closest they came to putting a glove on their opponents.
United have no midweek match and face Tottenham next in Saturday’s late kick-off before the return Champions League leg against Atletico Madrid.
It means Ronaldo has a week to return to fitness and recover from an issue that has hampered him already this season.
Sky Sports pundit Roy Keane was unimpressed with his former United team-mate missing the City match with the issue.
When asked if there was something more to Ronaldo’s absence on Sky Sports, he said: ‘There seems to be.
‘I just don’t like it when the manager (Ralf Rangnick) talks about this hip flexor, I don’t get it.
‘We talk about Ronaldo being some sort of machine, he’s very rarely injured, and then every now and again he comes out with something that and says hip flexor. It doesn’t add up to me.’
United’s defeat leaves them fifth in the Premier League standings and a point behind Arsenal in fourth.
The Gunners, however, have three games in hand on United and a serious opportunity to cement their position in the Champions League places over the coming weeks.