Carlo Ancelotti ruled his star forward Cristiano Ronaldo out for the club’s game at Michigan Stadium against Manchester United but he entered match at the 72 minute mark.
Much to the delight of the 100,000 plus fans in attendance.
The crowd gave Ronaldo a healthy round of applause as he entered the game. Fans in the front row by Real Madrid‘s bench stood as Ronaldo warmed up wearing a green penny.
“This was not a friendly,” Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said. “I had the feeling Real Madrid didn’t want to lose. I think that’s why he brought Ronaldo into the game.”
When Real Madrid announced its roster for the 2014 International Champions Cup, Ronaldo wasn’t even on it after suffering a knee injury playing for Portugal in the 2014 World Cup.
On July 24, the club added FIFA‘s reigning Ballon D’or Award winner on to the roster. He flew to the United States the morning of Real Madrid’s opening match of the tournament against Inter Milan.
He held individual practice sessions throughout the week, including one when Real Madrid practiced at Eastern Michigan University’s Scicluna Field.
When Ancelotti addressed the media before his team held a two-hour practice session at Michigan Stadium Friday night, the manager clarified Ronaldo‘s status.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Match Pictures against Manchester United at Michigan Stadium
“Ronaldo has been working individually, and he continues to work,” Ancelotti said. “We won’t put him out tomorrow as he has not trained with the full squad. He’ll start training with the squad as we plan to use him in the European Super Cup.”
But the coach evidently had a change of heart, subbing Ronaldo into the game for Alvaro Arbeloa.
Ancelotti didn’t go into detail on why Ronaldo played, but said after the game that his leading scorer would be healthy for 2014 UEFA Super Cup in Cardiff next week.
“We miss him when he doesn’t play,” Ancelotti said. “Next week he will be fine.”
Cristiano Ronaldo met Rooney and Old Manchester Team mates ahead of their match,