CRISTIANO RONALDO was still the leader of the pack in Manchester United training despite being benched over a lack of fitness.
Ronaldo, 37, is desperate to quit the Red Devils in his quest to play Champions League football this season with his team-mates growing equally frustrated at the situation.
He failed to join the United squad on their pre-season tour of Asia and Australia due to “family reasons”, before returning to face Rayo Vallecano earlier this month.
But he caused outrage after leaving ten minutes before the final whistle in the friendly clash – during which he was hooked at half-time.
Despite Anthony Martial nursing a minor injury, he was dropped to the bench for Sunday’s 2-1 defeat against Brighton where he came on in the second half.
New boss Erik ten Hag explained afterwards that the decision was down to the star’s fitness afterwards.
However, an image shared by the club’s Twitter account seems to suggest that the Real Madrid legend is racing to peak condition.
And now he looks to be closing in on a start for United, despite still being desperate to leave, when they head to Brentford on Saturday.
The Old Trafford club shared a snap of their squad in training, and it showed Ronaldo beating his teammates in a sprinting race.
Ten Hag revealed on Sunday that he was confident Ronaldo’s fitness levels will improve after he missed pre-season due to family reasons.
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The Dutchman said: “It takes time, you cannot force it. He is one week in training.
“He has to do more to get fit. This game will help and he will be better next week.”
However, Ronaldo did not start in a behind-closed-doors friendly with Halifax on Monday.