Manchester United Vs Real Sociedad: Cristiano Ronaldo sets for his Second Europa League Appearance After 20 Years


    Cristiano Ronaldo is set to feature for Manchester United as the Red Devils prepare to take on Real Sociedad in their opening 2022/23 Europa League encounter on Thursday. This will be Cristiano Ronaldo’s second appearance in Europe’s second-tier club competition after 20 years.

    Cristiano Ronaldo
    Ronaldo to appear again in the Europa League after 20 years

    Manchester United hosts Real Sociedad in one of the top matches that will take center stage in UEFA Europa League matchday one. The Red Devils are one of the tournament favorites, tipped to top their group due to the depth of quality paraded by Erik Ten Hag.

    Erik will go into this match with a lot of confidence after triumphing from two shock defeats to win four straight Premier League matches in a row, with Liverpool and Arsenal among casualties.

    Nevertheless, Real Sociedad are not pushovers. The last time they visited Old Trafford in 2021, they were able to garner a point. Real Sociedad have won their last two away matches with clean sheets. Nevertheless, Manchester United are still expected to cruise over their opponents, given their pedigree.

    Cristiano Ronaldo

    Erik Ten Hag has confirmed his squad selection for the match. The likes of Antony, Fernandes, Antony, Christian Eriksen, Rashford, Varane, Malacia, Lisandro Martinez, Casemiro, Cristiano Ronaldo, and other first-team members have been included.

    Interestingly, Cristiano Ronaldo will return to Europa League for the second time in his football career. The world’s top star menaced his first Europa League appearance in the 2002/03 football season when he played for Sporting Lisbon. The Manchester United legend made two appearances for Sporting Lisbon before they were knocked out by Partizan 6-4 on aggregate.

    Marshaling the Red Devils’ attack on Thursday will be Ronaldo’s second appearance in the Europa League. Ronaldo’s return to the Europ League after 20 years wraps up the debate on how his football career has taken a drastic downturn since his second spell with Manchester United.

    Ronaldo had always wanted to play in the elite category of UEFA club competition – the Champions League. After Manchester United failed to make it to the Champions League at the end of the 2021/22 football season, he had asked to be allowed to leave if the club received an offer for him. Recall that he had signed a 2-year contract in his second spell at Old Trafford and still has a year remaining in the contract life span.

    Cristiano Ronaldo
    Ronaldo has made 17 straight appearances in the Champions League

    Manchester United had insisted that he was not for sale, and the club was not ready to entertain offers for the highly valued player. Ronaldo had pressed for a move, prepared to take a pay cut to join any European club that has qualified for the Champions League.

    Despite his agent, Jorge Mendes, coming out publicly about his client’s resolve to take a pay cut to join any Champions League team, there was no club bid for Ronaldo.

    He was linked to Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, PSG, Real Madrid, and Chelsea, but none made an official bid for him. Meanwhile, he has missed most of Man United’s preseason and has been confined to the bench in five of Man United’s six Premier League matches as Erik Ten Hag doubts his fitness level.

    Ronaldo’s transfer saga has lingered until the 2022 summer transfer window closed, confining him to the club till the next transfer window in January.

    Ronaldo will make his second Europa League appearance playing for Manchester United. He hopes to resurrect his career by breaking into Erik Ten Hag’s starting lineup. This will bolster his World Cup chances which come up in November.

    Ronaldo’s appearance in the Europa League after 17 years of uninterrupted Champions League action will indeed trigger reactions from pundits and football fans. Still, the Portuguese is currently focused on gaining back his momentum and returning to the game’s summit where he belongs.


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