WATCH: Man Utd icon attacks ‘whinging’ Ronaldo as star ‘lucky’ to escape red card
Cristiano Ronaldo’s petulant behavior is having a debilitating effect on Manchester United, according to former teammate Gary Neville, after the Portuguese star cut a frustrated figure in the draw against Newcastle.
United were lucky to escape St. James’ Park with a draw on Monday night after a second-half equalizer from substitute Edinson Cavani canceled out a superb opener from the hosts scored by Allan Saint-Maximin.
Ralf Rangnick’s men were second best for much of the match and put in a particularly woeful first-half performance which lacked any sign of intensity or cohesion.
Ronaldo was peripheral throughout the game and was seen making his anger clear with a series of frustrated gestures when he didn’t receive the ball from teammates.
At the end of the game the Portugal star was also accused of a lack of respect for not saluting the Manchester United traveling faithful.
Ronaldo won three Premier League titles in his first spell at Old Trafford alongside teammate Neville, but the retired defender did not hold back in his assessment in the TV studio – also calling out Bruno Fernandes for sulking.
🗣 "It's devastating for the younger players if the two best players are looking at the others as if they're not good enough." @GNev2 blasts Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes for their whinging and running off the pitch at full-time pic.twitter.com/euSz2kXLg0— Football Daily (@footballdaily) December 27, 2021
“We mentioned body language. I said it after the Everton game earlier in the season, when Cristiano walked off. He’s run off again tonight,” Neville said.
“He ran off at Watford when everyone knew the manager was going to get the sack. And at Norwich.
“I think Bruno’s whinging [as well]. They’re the two senior players in that dressing room.
"It’s devastating for younger players if the two best players are looking at the others as if they’re not good enough,” Neville added.
The former United and England stalwart contrasted the Portuguese duo with Uruguayan talisman Cavani, who has been linked with a January move to Barcelona but showed his potential worth to United with a poached 71st-minute equalizer.
“I don’t think Cavani wilts in the presence of Ronaldo or Fernandes, I think he stands up to them and helps other young players on the pitch. He needs to be on the pitch, they need to get rid of that whinging attitude.” Neville said.
“I don’t care how you’ve played, you need to go over and clap the fans at the end of the game...
“It’s annoyed me for about two months [the behavior of Ronaldo and Fernandes]. The best players in your team, it’s devastating when they’re giving that look and body language to the younger ones. They have to help them.
Cristiano Ronaldo did not create a single chance against Newcastle. pic.twitter.com/tw4D8aPPoU— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 27, 2021
“You can’t run off the pitch at the end of a game. Bruno is whinging all the time, [even though] he’s been sensational for Man United…
“The two players at the front who can carry that team – and to be fair Ronaldo has carried that team at times this season – but you've got to be there when your teammates need you in the most difficult moments.
“At the end of the day, I love that lad [Ronaldo], he’s the best I’ve ever seen in my life almost, but don’t run off like that at the end of the game. I’m not having that,” Neville scolded.
Ronaldo straight down the tunnel at full time. No acknowledgement of travelling fans who face 150 miles back home in the rain. No acknowledgement of opponents. Does it every week. Abysmal. He is part of this team and should be reminded of that.— Ian Ladyman (@Ian_Ladyman_DM) December 27, 2021
Ronaldo has netted 13 times in 19 appearances in all competitions since rejoining United from Juventus in the summer, but his frustrating night in the North East on Monday could have got even worse when he clashed with Newcastle’s Ryan Fraser.
The 36-year-old star charged in with an apparent attempt to clear the ball but ended up clattering into Fraser, who had got there first.
Ronaldo was handed a yellow card but some fans claimed he had got off lightly for the 57th-minute incident.
Yes, that should be a red card for Ronaldo pic.twitter.com/ncGFnjqrWh— Has the Referee or VAR made a poor decision? (@PoorEPLreferees) December 27, 2021
United remain unbeaten in five games under new interim manager Rangnick, but the German was far from impressed with what he’d seen from his team.
“I didn’t like the performance at all. Today we didn’t control the game apart from a few moment,” said the 63-year-old.
“It’s all about energy, physicality and who wins the second balls. In all those areas we weren’t at our best…
“Today was not a question of body language, it was a question of body physicality.
“If you want to be competitive here you have to get physical and this was not the case in many parts of the game.”
The Old Trafford giants are down in seventh place in the Premier League table, seven points off a Champions League spot. They are next scheduled to host Burnley on December 30.