Erik ten Hag to 'deal with' Ronaldo early exit down tunnel
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Cristiano Ronaldo is currently in the spotlight after refusing to come on against Tottenham. However, when you consider some information that surfaced in May, perhaps it’s something Manchester United should have seen coming. The Portugal international has previously told team-mates he must either player or be left out entirely, because spending hours sat in the cold is ‘detrimental’ to him.
Ronaldo has long been a model professional, with the Manchester United star setting an example at Old Trafford, Juventus and Real Madrid over the years.
But, on Wednesday night, he angered Erik ten Hag by refusing to come on against Tottenham.
Ronaldo, the substitute, is not something he thought would ever happen. He’s always been a starter, and hates the prospect of not playing with a World Cup on the horizon.
In truth, he doesn’t deserve to start. Contrary to what Rio Ferdinand and Roy Keane may say, United are better without him. The stats speak for themselves, after all.
They run more, they pick up more points per game and just look far more threatening without a static figure up top.
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Back in May, The Athletic opened up on Ronaldo’s thoughts on being a substitute.
It was claimed the Portugal international had told team-mates he’d rather play or be left out entirely, because sitting in the Mancunian cold is ‘detrimental’ to him.
As a player approaching his 38th birthday, perhaps his stance is understandable.
But Ronaldo can’t just excuse himself from matches like that. If Ten Hag needs him in the squad, then that’s what he must do.
The report also says that Ralf Rangnick contemplated dropping Ronaldo on more occasions than he actually did during his disastrous spell in the dugout.
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Though the Portugal international continued to play, however, he didn’t get everything his way.
Ronaldo asked Rangnick to play alongside somebody up top, with the Red Devils having Edinson Cavani as an option last term.
Yet Rangnick declined and, most of the time, the United star has had to settle for being a lone marksman instead.
Now, it’ll be interesting to see if Ronaldo can emerge from this dark spell and out of the other side.
Ten Hag is willing to bring him back into the fold this week, but only on the condition that his No 7 shows genuine contrition for his strop against Tottenham.
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And whether Ronaldo does that will be fascinating to see.
Meanwhile, talkSPORT pundit Jason Cundy recently claimed the United star brings too much ‘baggage’ to make him an appealing prospect for clubs to sign.
“It’s all for show. That’s why I wouldn’t take Ronaldo [at Chelsea]. The baggage,” he said after Ronaldo stormed down the tunnel in the 2-0 win over Tottenham on Wednesday.
“He is a brilliant footballer and he will score goals but that’s the reason.
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“[Erik] Ten Hag has still got a problem with him, and January can’t come quick enough for Ten Hag to move him on. He wants to move on, there’s petulance.
“And what does that do to other players? No doubt he’s a brilliant influence in the dressing room, but the petulance shown like that in public that’s not on, that’s not fair.
“Imagine if you’re a young player looking up to Ronaldo and he does that?
“For Ronaldo to do that during the game, it’s slapping Ten Hag round the face. He’s questioning his authority. Publicly he’s given the manager a little *tsh* round the chops.”
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