Latest Football News From Manchester: Cristiano Ronaldo trolls Newcastle after Manchester United transfer comment

Speculation over Ronaldo, 37, continues to mount although the five-time Ballon d'Or winner has finally returned to Carrington after his prolonged absence. Ronaldo did not board the plane to Thailand and Australia citing a pressing family matter – which the club had formally accepted.

During his absence, transfer rumours surrounding Ronaldo were bubbling away. Chelsea and Bayern Munich distanced themselves from a summer swoop, while reports in France claimed Ronaldo was offered to big-spending Paris Saint-Germain.

Ronaldo also rebuffed a lucrative offer from Saudi Arabia and United insist the player will not be sold – after crunch talks between him, club and agent Jorge Mendes were held at Carrington on Tuesday morning. Ronaldo could now feature against Rayo Vallecano on Sunday afternoon.

Despite the Portugal captain preparing for his first summer appearance, there is continued speculation over him with Atletico Madrid and Sporting Lisbon at the centre of it. It was a talking point Newcastle manager Howe was even pressed on by the media.

Speaking about the five-time Ballon d'Or winner and his next move, he said: “I hope he doesn't [stay in the Premier League]. He scores a lot of goals and I'd rather not play against him.”

It was all very light-hearted from Howe when he made that comment and so too from Ronaldo when he delivered his response on social media. He spotted that comment on an Instagram fan account (@cristiano.ronaldo7_) before replying “facts” with a laughing face and thumbs-up emoji.

Ronaldo scored twice against Newcastle on his second debut for United after returning last summer.