Man Utd could be forced into playing wantaway Cristiano Ronaldo against Brighton with Anthony Martial ruled out injured

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Man Utd may be forced to play an unhappy Cristiano Ronaldo in their Premier League opener this weekend after Anthony Martial was ruled out through injury.

Man Utd kick off their campaign at home to Brighton on Sunday.

And it appeared unlikely that Ronaldo would feature as his future remains up in the air following a summer of speculation which has seen him play very little part in pre-season.

But now Erik ten Hag could be left with no choice but to play the Portuguese superstar up front as Martial is not available.

According to The Athletic, the Frenchman has suffered a minor hamstring issue which means he will not be ready for the weekend.

He trudged off the pitch holding his leg following their defeat to Atletico Madrid in Norway on Saturday.

And now it looks to have cost him ahead of Ten Hag’s first game in charge.

Ten Hag’s other options to lead the line include Marcus Rashford and Anthony Elanga – with Jadon Sancho set to miss the game through illness.

Ronaldo scored 24 goals in 38 appearances last season but that did little to stop United enduring a torrid campaign.

Now their failure to qualify for the Champions League appears to have led the five-time Ballon d’Or winner into trying to force a move.

He has been linked with a loan return to Sporting Lisbon after Chelsea and Bayern Munich ruled themselves out of the race.

There have also been rumours of a deal with Atletico Madrid, but the LaLiga giants’ fans were quick to insist he is not welcome at their club – mainly due to him being a Real Madrid legend.

Ronaldo played 45 minutes of Man Utd’s final warm-up match against Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.

But, after being substituted at half-time, he then left Old Trafford before the final whistle.

And Ten Hag condemned that sort of behaviour as tensions between United and Ronaldo increased to uncomfortable levels.

Asked whether leaving a match prior to the end was acceptable, the Red Devils head coach said: “Absolutely not. It is unacceptable. I’ve told them this – that it’s unacceptable.

“We are a team, we are a squad and you have to stay to the end.”

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