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Cristiano Ronaldo hopes to return to action on Saturday night when Manchester United face Aston Villa in the Premier League.

The Portuguese star, 36, had to miss Monday’s FA Cup win over Villa due to a minor muscle problem, but is aiming to resume training on Thursday ahead of the weekend.

Ronaldo told Premier League Productions: “I’m fine. I only have a little contact, but you know, it’s part of my job.

“You know, we have to feel pain sometimes. It’s nothing big and I hope to be well soon.”

When asked if he will make the Villa game at Old Trafford, he said: “I hope so. We’ll try it on Thursday. I will try to train normally.‘Let’s see how the body reacts. Fingers crossed. I am sure.’

Monday night’s 1-0 win, which resulted in a fourth home round draw against Middlesbrough, was the first time Ronaldo has been unavailable due to a fitness problem since returning to Old Trafford.

He was excluded from the squad for the third round of the Carabao Cup against West Ham in September and the dead rubber Champions League group stage match against Young Boys in December.

Ronaldo’s return is a boost for United interim manager Ralf Rangnick as they try to gain ground in the top four of the Premier League.

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Ronaldo has started 14 of 16 Premier League games so far, in the other two and the other five European games off the bench, scoring 14 goals.

United managed to get past Steven Gerrard in the FA Cup in the absence of Ronaldo, but they were lucky.

United are currently seventh, some six points behind West Ham, who topped Arsenal on Wednesday and returned to fourth with their 2-0 win over Norwich.



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