Cristiano Ronaldo dropped by Erik ten Hag for their trip to Chelsea after refusing to come on as a late substitute against Tottenham before leaving early; Gary Neville: "The only thing the club and Ronaldo can do is get together in this next week or so and end the relationship"
Tuesday 25 October 2022 10:49, UK
Gary Neville says Manchester United should soon "end the relationship" with Cristiano Ronaldo, but Roy Keane reckons players "have done worse things" and that the striker is not a "bluffer".
Ronaldo was dropped by Erik ten Hag for their 1-1 draw at Chelsea after refusing to come on as a late substitute against Tottenham before leaving early during Wednesday's victory, having walked out before half-time during a pre-season friendly against Rayo Vallecano.
"End it this week or create a truce to get to the World Cup and then end it. Because this has to end," said Neville.
And during a heated debate on Sky Sports with former United captain Roy Keane, Neville argued: "There aren't many Manchester United fans who would now have Ronaldo in their starting eleven. They are better without him - they score more goals without him and they win more points without him. Manchester United are a better team without him."
Ten Hag says he does not expect Ronaldo to leave the club during the January transfer window and that he "counts" on him for the rest of the season, but Sky Sports pundit Neville believes the 37-year-old should leave.
"For me, Erik ten Hag had no other option. That's the second time Ronaldo has left Old Trafford before his team-mates have got into the changing room. That is unacceptable.
"As always, he can score goals and he has value for us. We need him, it’s clear and you see it also in this game. He can finish off, that’s quite obvious.
"I think I have said enough about that situation. Let’s focus on this game, it was a good game for my team and I have to compliment my team.
"If you can deliver this after four games in ten games and then dictate this first half, the second half we were really well organised and you fight back, I think that has to be the focus."
"When you look at whether Ronaldo should be selected, which is obviously Ronaldo's main problem at this moment in time - that he's not playing - as great a player as he's been, Manchester United are better without him.
"Erik ten Hag knows that, so I think the only thing the club and Ronaldo can do is get together in this next week or so and end the relationship. Cristiano is too good a player, too fantastic a character and the club have got to move on.
"Ronaldo can't accept not being the star man in Manchester United's team so he's going to have to leave - that's it."
Ronaldo was unhappy with the watching brief he was handed against Tottenham as goals from Fred and Bruno Fernandes earned a deserved 2-0 victory in what was widely considered United's best performance of the season.
Sky Sports' Keane has some sympathy for his former team-mate but is unsure whether there is a way back for Ronaldo at the club.
"I'm trying to see this from the player's point of view - he's obviously had enough. He's lost his head. That has been brewing over the last few weeks," said Keane.
"I'm going to try and defend him. He's a human being and has got flaws, feeling frustrated that he's not getting opportunities and he's had enough. He walked down the tunnel but players have done worse things at Manchester United - it happens, it's human nature.
"Everyone was saying after the Spurs game it was Manchester United's best performance in years. Absolute rubbish. Spurs were terrible. Ronaldo got a hat-trick when United beat Spurs last season at home, so he's more than capable of getting on the pitch and making a difference.
"He has to take his punishment. Is there a way back for him? I'm not sure. I'd be more worried if he was laughing his head off on the bench and not caring. I think he cares. This game is full of bluffers, he isn't one. He wants to play. He needs to play, a world-class player. People say he's not the player he was 10 years ago - of course he's not, but he was the leading goalscorer for United last season in a really bad United team.
"They asked the manager in the press conference about Ronaldo refusing to come on but they should have asked him when was he going to put him on? Late in the game? I'm not too sure that was a clever move. He has to take his medicine. He's done something he shouldn't have done. Can he get back into the team before the World Cup? I don't see it."
Asked if Man United are better without Ronaldo, Keane said: "I wouldn't say that. Would you hang your hat on Rashford or Ronaldo?
"He's 37, he still wants to be the best in the world, that's why I admire him. He scores a goal every two games for Man Utd. They got hammered against Man City [without him], they lost to Brighton, they lost to Brentford, they've drawn today and celebrated like they've won the league. Man United are fifth in the league.
"They beat Spurs the other night and thought they'd won the European Cup. They beat Spurs last year and Ronaldo got a hat-trick. If you have a striker scoring every two games, I don't care what age he is, he'll do for me."
Sky Sports asked the readers to give their views on what Man Utd should do with Ronaldo. This is what they had to say...
thekevlad: Man Utd can't let Ronaldo go unless they buy two strikers. Marcus Rashford isn't a no9 and Anthony Martial is made of glass. Ronaldo is our only striker.
Mattywebster13: Ronaldo is a world class player with a proven record, but he is not happy and I really don't think he wants to be at Man Utd, so why keep him there to bring the dressing room down? Get rid of him and focus on what we have.
Bradisared98:I think Cristiano's attitude is wrong. His ego is showing. I believe Ten Hag is handling this the right way. No matter how good they are, the best players they don't have the right to do what CR7 Is doing.
Cr700: I would keep him, look at what he did last season. Poor management from Erik ten Hag - I agree with Roy Keane's comments.
Manny: I think Ronaldo needs to go for the betterment of the team. Ronaldo seems to be chasing records rather thinking for the team. He is 37 years old and need to work with the team showing his leadership and guidance.
David: Absolutely not! He is under contract at United and has a lot to offer. Saturday night's game against Chelsea showed we need his attacking prowess, and we missed him upfront. Dare say we'd have won with him coming off the bench.
Chris F: Ronaldo has done his best to try and burn his bridges at Old Trafford since the summer. Regardless of his relationship with Erik ten Hag he should have the respect for his teammates at least to just get his head down and get on with things, but yet again it's all about him!
Utd1989: Get him out. He slows the play down, he creates nothing and is clearly a toxic cloud over the squad. His best years are behind him and it's time he goes somewhere where you don't need to play well to win trophies.
Yasser Zohdi: Ronaldo should be let go asap. It was obvious when we re-signed him it was for commercial reasons. Ronaldo wants to play every game. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had to change the way the team played and we all know what happened next. His United legacy is definitely tarnished in my eyes. Get rid of CR7.
Peter Hall: Man Utd should have let him go the moment that he let it be known that he wanted to go.