Cristiano Ronaldo and Jon Pacheco
Cristiano Ronaldo Joins Juventus Photo by Jan Kruger - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo's team Manchester United opened its UEFA Europa League campaign, and lost to Real Sociedad Thursday.

For Sociedad, the victory was its first against an English team in a competitive match, reported ESPN.

Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag said at a news conference on Wednesday that he would take the Europa League seriously. Despite the manager picking a strong team including Ronaldo, David De Gea, Harry Maguire, Christian Eriksen and Antony, Real Socieded still left Man Utd with three points. The team ended the night with more shots and more possession than the Spanish side. Goalkeeper Alejandro Remiro didn't have to deal with anything other than a routine save.

Ten Hag will still expect to do enough over the next five group games to progress to the next round. The recent defeat won't do Ten Hag's squad players any favors. Players like Ronaldo, Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Anthony Elanga were all brought into the team after watching the winning run from the bench. But no one did enough to suggest they will keep their place for the next game in the league.

Prior to the Thursday match, Ronaldo had faced Real Sociedad on nine occasions during his professional career. All nine of those matches happened during his time in the Spanish capital with Real Madrid. He boasts a perfect record of nine wins.

Ten Hag had picked a strong team to kick off the Europa League group stage. But he made a number of changes, including handing a recall to Ronaldo, 37. The footballer was hoping a summer move that would mean playing Champions League football somewhere else this season. Instead he made his first career appearance in the Europa League, and it didn't look like he enjoyed it. He had a first-half goal ruled out for offside, and also took some heavy challenges in the second half and seemed to be in some discomfort toward the end.

After missing almost all of preseason, the benefit for Ronaldo is that he got 90 minutes in his legs. But it wasn't a performance that suggested that he will be back in the team for a Premier League game anytime soon. Right now, he might have to wait for his chance in the Europa League. He can hope to regain his scoring touch soon and force his manager into bringing him back for games in the league.

For now, Ronaldo is likely to have to settle for his role as only an impact substitute. He only started one match at club level this season. He again had to settle for a spot on the bench against Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday, reported Sports Mole.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United reacts during the UEFA Europa League group E match between Manchester United and Real Sociedad at Old Trafford on September 08, 2022 in Manchester, England. Photo by Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.