Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo spent the last week in Dubai, before returning to England ahead of Friday night’s FA Cup fourth round tie with Middlesbrough
If there were any question marks over where Cristiano Ronaldo’s Manchester United mindset was, they were emphatically answered over the weekend.
The 36-year-old took advantage of a welcome break in the hectic fixture schedule, flying out to Dubai with his partner and children.
Ronaldo was one of several players to head out to the luxurious Gulf State, joining the likes of Marcus Rashford, Diogo Dalot, Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba at the Nad Al-Sheba training complex.
His break comes after the most fractious month of his second United stint, with public disagreements with manager Ralf Rangnick and controversial interviews making headlines.
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Firstly, there was the incident involving his substitution at Brentford, where the iconic forward was visibly annoyed with the interim boss.
Rangnick was forced to talk to his player on the sideline, before addressing the situation several times afterwards.
Days later, Ronaldo seemed to take aim at some of his younger team-mates for not taking on board some of the criticism and advice the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was offering.
“The mature players, the older players can always help the young players,” Ronaldo told Premier League Productions. “But, I can give you an example, if I give you advice, even if you are younger than me and if you don’t implant that in a daily life it will be difficult.
“You can speak all day with that person. If he’s not coming from inside of you it’s impossible. I remember when I was 18, 19, 20, some old players speak with me and I put that as, ‘Cristiano, you know you have to improve. They know more than you, they are more experienced than you’. They passed through many bad moments.
“But the other people (youngsters), they don’t accept that if you criticise them.”
He has also faced criticism from pundits like Gary Neville, for what many perceive as negative body language, negatively affecting some of his colleagues.
However, if there is any lingering unhappiness at his situation at Old Trafford, he isn’t making them known, returning to training two days early, according to the Manchester Evening News.
In preparation for Friday night’s FA Cup tie with Middlesbrough, the Portugal international has made sure he is in tip-top shape by reporting to training over the weekend for extra sessions.
The rest of his Man United team-mates returned on Monday, with the likes of Jesse Lingard and Dean Henderson hoping to seal deadline day exits.
However, from Rangnick’s senior squad, only Donny van de Beek left the club, joining Everton on-loan for the rest of the campaign.
Lingard is now facing up to the prospect of another extended spell on the sidelines, with his United contract running down and no signs he will be elevated into the starting XI anytime soon.