Edinson Cavani has been ruled out of Manchester United’s Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid.
The Uruguayan will not travel to Spain for the first leg, Ralf Rangnick confirmed at his press conference.
Rangnick told the club website: “Edi will not make the trip. He didn’t train and hasn’t been training for a couple of weeks. He has problems with his groin and, as long as he doesn’t feel ready to fully sprint, it doesn’t make sense to train him.”
Cavani, 35, has not featured since United’s 1-1 draw at Burnley early in the month.
He was pictured in training at the end of last week, but has clearly suffered a setback or feels there has not been sufficient improvement.
United’s decision to bring in Cristiano Ronaldo was a no-brainer at the time, and it was viewed as an even smarter decision last August because Cavani was proving unreliable.
The striker was allowed to return late from pre-season and did not start any of the club’s opening three Premier League games.
This season Cavani has started only seven games in all competitions, and scored only two goals.
During January he was linked with a move away from the club, and United convinced him to stay put. While there is no doubting his commitment on the pitch, sometimes you wonder how much he really wants to be at Old Trafford.
United knew this of course when he was signed. Cavani had a poor injury record in his final season at PSG and signing him was always a risk for that reason.
In recent weeks his status as cult hero has declined somewhat, and missing this huge fixture is a blow, especially as it seems like Cavani is the one making decisions over his fitness rather than the medical staff.
There is still time for Cavani to reverse the trend. A key contribution in the second leg will have fans singing his name all over again, but right now the mood is one of frustration…