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20 Jan, 2022 08:37

Ronaldo accused of ‘pathetic’ sulking as star is substituted (VIDEO)

Cristiano Ronaldo was unhappy to be taken off during Manchester United’s victory over Brentford
Ronaldo accused of ‘pathetic’ sulking as star is substituted (VIDEO)

Cristiano Ronaldo was accused of petulance as the superstar forward made his frustrations clear at being substituted during Manchester United’s Premier League win at Brentford on Wednesday night. 

Ronaldo was removed in the 71st minute of the match as part of a double change by United manager Ralf Rangnick with his team 2-0 up.

The Portuguese star had helped set up United’s second goal with a wonderful chested pass to Bruno Fernandes in the build-up before Mason Greenwood applied the finish.

But with United seemingly out of sight after surviving a first-half battering from the hosts in which David de Gea made some key saves, Rangnick opted to bring off the 36-year-old.

Ronaldo was clearly frustrated at the decision, making his way slowly off the pitch before giving a half-hearted handshake to the oncoming Harry Maguire and Rangnick, and then continued to mutter to himself on the bench.

The scenes were branded “pathetic” by some onlookers – while BBC football reporter Phil McNulty claimed it was a “ridiculous show of petulance” from Ronaldo as “his ego provided a completely unnecessary sideshow.”

Substitute Rashford ended his goal drought with a 77th-minute finish – his first since November – to put United 3-0 ahead before Ivan Toney pulled a late goal back for Brentford.

Much of the focus, however, was on Ronaldo’s antics – even though the star number seven glossed over the row by posting encouraging messages on his social media channels following the win.

It’s not the first time the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has been accused of childish body language on this pitch this season.

Former teammate Gary Neville ripped into the forward for too much “whinging” back in December, which Neville claimed was having a demoralizing effect on other members of the team.

Questioned on the situation with his Portuguese superstar, United boss Rangnick attempted to play down the scenes afterwards.

“He asked: ‘Why me, why have you taken me off?’” said the German.

“I told him: ‘I have to make decisions in the interests of the team and club. We had the same situation at Aston Villa [on Saturday] when we were 2-0 up in the second half and I didn’t want to make the same mistake [drawing 2-2].’

“So tonight I put on Harry Maguire, went to a back three, and a fast winger, Marcus Rashford. It was the right decision.

“Cristiano is a goalscorer but it was more important to be compact at this moment. When we scored a third I said this exactly to him: ‘I know you’re ambitious to score but maybe in two years’ time when you are a head coach like me and in the same position you’ll understand.’”

Despite the frosty scenes, Rangnick claimed he has “no issues whatsoever” with Ronaldo, who this week picked up a special FIFA accolade for his remarkable international goalscoring feats.   

“I didn’t expect him to hug me after being substituted,” said the 63-year-old.

“I’ve been here six weeks and never had any issue with him – none whatsoever.”

United meet fellow top four contenders West Ham at Old Trafford on Saturday, having cemented their position in seventh in the Premier League table with the win against 14th-placed Brentford.