Manchester United

Cristiano Ronaldo absent as Man Utd squad meet ahead of Leicester clash

Toby Cudworth
Ronaldo has cut a frustrated figure at times
Ronaldo has cut a frustrated figure at times / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Cristiano Ronaldo was absent from the Manchester United squad that assembled on Friday night ahead of the weekend clash with Leicester.

The 37-year-old has been away on international duty this past week with Portugal, playing 180 minutes to help his country qualify for this winter's World Cup in Qatar.

Fellow countryman Bruno Fernandes was among the 21 players who got together at the Lowry Hotel, as was captain Harry Maguire - who has endured a difficult week after he was booed by England's supporters during their international friendly with Ivory Coast.

The reception Maguire received has been a main talking point ever since, with a number of players taking to social media to question why England supporters would boo him, and United interim manager Ralf Rangnick added weight to that notion on Friday by admitting he was surprised by what he saw at Wembley.

"He knows my position towards him, he's been a very valuable player, and the captain of the team and the club, and also my captain," Rangnick said in his press conference. "I didn't understand what was going on at Wembley, but I'm pretty sure it won't happen in our stadium with the Red Army behind the team and the club also behind the captain.

"He's a very important player. He's been playing well for Manchester United and for England in the last couple of years. Gareth Southgate said something after the game and Harry Kane. I didn't watch the game but I heard what had happened before the game there after they announced the starting lineup. Difficult to understand.

"I don't speak to them in person but I'm pretty sure that this will not happen in our stadium. For it to happen in an international game before an international game is pretty unusual."

As for Ronaldo, his relationship with Rangnick has been called into question at times, most notably when he was left out of the squad for the 4-1 derby defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

He bounced back from that omission, however, to bag a stunning hat-trick in United's last Premier League outing, a 3-2 win over Tottenham at Old Trafford.