Cristiano Ronaldo posts curiously-timed message on Twitter after Champions League draw with Manchester United forward unlikely to feature in competition for first time since 2003 August 26, 2022 – Posted in: Soccer

Cristiano Ronaldo posted a curiously-timed training photo just as the Champions League group stage draw came to a close on Thursday.

The Manchester United forward captioned his post on Twitter: ‘Keep working and focused’ just as the 32 teams learned their fate for Europe’s premier club competition, which likely won’t have Ronaldo in it.

The post was made moments after the Champions League draw

The Champions League could begin without Ronaldo for the first time in nearly two decades

AFP

The Champions League could begin without Ronaldo for the first time in nearly two decades

It appears the Champions League will be without its all-time top scorer for the first time since 2003 after United failed to land a top four spot last season.

The Red Devils recorded their worst ever Premier League campaign last season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick, finishing sixth in the table despite Ronaldo’s grand return.

That wasn’t for the want of trying from the 37-year-old superstar, though, with Ronaldo scoring 24 goals in all competitions, 14 more than his closest teammate.

Six of those efforts came during heroic performances in Europe, where Ronaldo extended his record as the competition’s top scorer with a gigantic 140 goals in 183 games, 15 ahead of rival Lionel Messi.

But as things stand, Messi will be able to creep up on his fellow all-time great, with Paris Saint-Germain in this year’s tournament, and Man United not.

The disappointment of United not making the top four last season has been followed by a summer of speculation surrounding Ronaldo, and it hasn’t finished yet.

Ronaldo looks like he may be in for a season on the bench and out of the Champions League

AFP

Ronaldo looks like he may be in for a season on the bench and out of the Champions League

Multiple reports claimed his agent, Jorge Mendes, held talks with both Chelsea and Bayern Munich in order to facilitate a return to the Champions League.

French side Marseille are the latest Champions League team to be linked with the forward after a move to Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund was ruled out.

Ronaldo’s first-ever team, Sporting CP, are another option amongst the 32, and are the bookies’ current favourites to land the superstar if he doesn’t stay at United.

Ronaldo and Man United will learn their fate for this season’s Europa League with the group stage draw to be staged in Istanbul on Friday.

If Ronaldo really wants UCL football, Sporting may be the only place Ronaldo can go

Getty

If Ronaldo really wants UCL football, Sporting may be the only place Ronaldo can go

But Ronaldo’s message poses even more questions after he was benched for United’s sensational 2-1 win over rivals Liverpool.

He may not return to the fold any time soon after him and Harry Maguire being dropped was followed by United’s best performance of the season, so maybe ‘Keep working and focused’ is just a message to agent Mendes.

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