Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane, Edinson Cavani and Luke Shaw were not among the 21 players present at the Lowry Hotel, where Manchester United were staying ahead of their Premier League match against Manchester City.
As reported by several foreign media outlets, including the prestigious La Gazzetta dello Sport, this might mean that the Portuguese star will miss the Manchester derby against Pep Guardiola’s side.
According to the British newspaper the Manchester Evening News, the Red Devils are likely to be without Ronaldo.
In addition to Ronaldo, Cavani, Varane and Shaw are missing. None of the four have any particular physical problems: the Uruguayan is coming off the back of a groin strain, but coach Ralf Rangnick had deemed him fit for the Etihad Stadium game, scheduled for 5.30pm local time.
Relations between Rangnick and Ronaldo haven’t been great, and in recent weeks there have already been rumours of several disagreements in the United dressing room.
United are currently fourth in the league and a long way behind leaders City (19 points adrift after 27 games).
The objective for the season – apart from the Champions League (where the second leg of the last 16 is still to be played after a good result in the first leg at the Wanda Metropolitano) is to finish in the top four.