Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo may have been believed to be desperate to find a way out of Manchester United, but the club's fans made it clear that they are still happy to have him at Old Trafford. Ronaldo was received with a warm round of applause as he entered the pitch for the Red Devils for the first time during the pre-season. He finally turned up during Manchester United's pre-season match against La Liga side Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.

Ronaldo led the team out to the pitch with his arms raised to applaud the audience, and they returned the favor by greeting him with a level of warmth that is slightly unexpected after what has transpired over the past few months.

In what has been a rollercoaster summer for Ronaldo, he initially expressed his desire to stay on to play under new manager Erik ten Hag. However, following a dismal start to the transfer season, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner was believed to have decided to push for an exit in order to find a club that can challenge for trophies and guarantee Champions League football.

His agent Jorge Mendes is believed to have made the rounds knocking on the doors of Europe's top clubs, but he was not able to find a solution. Ronaldo's talent is undeniable, but his value is so high that not many clubs can realistically afford him. Furthermore, being such an influential figure in the dressing room and on the pitch makes it a risky call to sign him. Clubs like Bayern Munich for example, are wary of causing an imbalance in their already well-oiled squad.

Ronaldo has a year left in his contract with Manchester United, and it appears as though he may be left with no choice but to see it through until the summer of 2023. He was the club's top scorer last season, and fans are keeping this in mind. They continue to show their support to their biggest star, despite rumours of his desire to leave.

Ronaldo skipped the club's pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia, although that was supposedly because of a family issue he had to deal with. Nevertheless, fans were happy enough to see him back in the iconic red shirt, with some even giving him a standing ovation. He played for the first 45 minutes of the 1-1 draw against Rayo, but caused controversy once more after being spotted leaving the stadium before the final whistle.

It remains to be seen if he will stay or if a shock move may still take place in the closing hours of the transfer window, which is still a few weeks away.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice to salvage a 2-2 draw for Manchester United away to Atalanta AFP / Marco BERTORELLO