Ronaldo set to make early return


Uefa Champions League, Group E – Man Utd v Villarreal
Venue: Old Trafford Date: Wednesday, 17 September Kick-off: 1945 BST Coverage: BBC Sport website & BBC Radio Five Live


Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo was linked with a move to Real Madrid over the summer

Winger Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to make an early return from injury for Manchester United’s opening Champions League match against Villarreal.

Ronaldo, sidelined for two months after undergoing an ankle operation in July, was expected to be out until October.

But manager Sir Alex Ferguson said Ronaldo could feature on Wednesday, as well as against Chelsea next weekend.

“He’s been making great strides in the direction towards first-team football,” said the United boss.

Ferguson added: “Ronaldo is training now, he’s with the first team and he’s aiming to be a substitute at Chelsea on 21 September. He’s come on leaps and bounds.

“I think we mentioned a couple of weeks ago he was making rapid progress in terms of overcoming the injury problem he had and the training he’s been doing with the physios and Tony Strudwick the fitness coach.”

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United will be without midfielder Michael Carrick, who injured his right ankle midway through the first half of Saturday’s 2-1 defeat by Liverpool, for the start of their European Cup defence. The 28-year-old England international is expected to miss the Premier League clash against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, as is Nemanja Vidic after the defender was sent off at Anfield.

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