Ronaldo reacts after Man Utd punishment
Cristiano Ronaldo has said he acted in the “heat of the moment” after his early departure from the touchline against Tottenham Hotspur led to the striker being dropped by Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag.
Ronaldo stormed down the tunnel at Old Trafford before the full-time whistle as United beat Premier League rivals Spurs 2-0 on Wednesday.
The 37-year-old started the match on the substitutes’ bench and reports claimed that the forward had refused to come onto the pitch when called upon by Ten Hag in the 87th minute.
Ronaldo left the touchline shortly afterwards and was said to have departed the United locker room before his teammates returned to celebrate their win.
Ten Hag said after the match that he would “deal with” the incident, and the club confirmed on Thursday that Ronaldo would not be part of the squad for the Premier League meeting with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
The striker will reportedly not be with the first-team squad at Carrington as they prepare for the match, but will still be present at United’s training base.
Ronaldo addressed the row in a message to his 490 million Instagram followers later on Thursday, writing: “As I’ve always done throughout my career, I try to live and play respectfully towards my colleagues, my adversaries and my coaches. That hasn’t changed.
“I started very young, the older and most experienced players examples were always very important to me. Therefore, later on, I’ve always tried to set the example myself for the youngsters that grew in all the teams that I’ve represented.
“I’ve always tried to set the example myself for the youngsters that grew in all the teams that I’ve represented.
“Unfortunately that’s not always possible and sometimes the heat of the moment gets the best of us. Right now, I just feel that I have to keep working hard in Carrington, support my teammates and be ready for everything in any given game.
“Giving in to the pressure is not an option. It never was. This is Manchester United, and united we must stand. Soon we’ll be together again.”
Reports on Friday indicated that Ten Hag has repeated that he would be willing to allow Ronaldo to leave the club in the January transfer window – a stance which crucially has the support of sections of the club hierarchy.
The forward’s relationship is said to have to broken down with some members of the coaching staff to the extent that he has minimal communication with them.
Ronaldo had attempted to force through a transfer from Old Trafford ahead of the season, desperate to pursue Champions League football.
However, agent Jorge Mendes was unable to find a suitable landing spot after advances were rejected by the likes of Bayern Munich and Chelsea.
Finding a potential buyer may also prove problematic in January, should Ronaldo’s considerable current weekly wage of around £500,000 ($560,000) not be reduced.
Ronaldo finished top-scorer for United last season with 24 goals across all competitions, after returning to his former club from Italian giants Juventus. He is in the final year of a two-deal deal, but with the option of a one-year extension.
After United failed to qualify for this season’s Champions League and Ten Hag was named new manager, questions immediately appeared over Ronaldo’s future.
The Dutch coach has used Ronaldo sparingly thus far, with doubts over how the forward can fit into his high-energy, pressing style of play.
Ronaldo has two goals and one assist in 12 appearances this campaign, playing eight times in the Premier League but just once playing the full duration of a match, in the humiliating 4-0 defeat to Brentford in August.