Man Utd boss confirms Ronaldo dissent
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo refused to come on as a substitute during the Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur, as the Dutch trainer laid down the law to the recalcitrant star forward.
United announced on Thursday that Ronaldo would not be part of the squad for this weekend’s trip to Chelsea, after the Portuguese striker was seen leaving the touchline shortly before the final whistle of the 2-0 win against Spurs at Old Trafford.
Reports also indicated that Ronaldo had left the locker room by the time his teammates returned to celebrate their victory.
Speaking at press conference on Friday, Ten Hag said it was true that Ronaldo had refused to enter the action when called upon as a substitute late in the match, and explained the reasoning behind the subsequent punishment dished out to the player.
“I am the manager here, I am responsible for the top sport culture here. I have to set standards and values and I have to control them,” said the Dutch coach, who stepped into the United dugout ahead of the season.
Ten Hag said the details of his conversation with Ronaldo on Thursday morning would remain between them.
He noted, however, that the 37-year-old had already been on a “warning” following a similar incident during a friendly with Spanish team Rayo Vallecano before the season.
“I think it will have a (time for) reflection for him, but also for everyone else,” said the former Ajax coach.
“I sent a warning at the start of the season, next time there have to be consequences, otherwise when you are living together when you are playing together, football is a team sport and you have to fulfil certain standards...
“We miss him tomorrow, it’s a miss for the squad but it’s important for the attitude and mentality of the group and now we have to focus on Chelsea as that is important.”
Ronaldo trained separately from the United first-team squad at their Carrington training base on Friday, after admitting in a social media post that he had acted “in the heat of the moment.”
“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,” wrote the five-time Ballon d’Or winner in a message to his 490 million Instagram followers.
It was also reported that Ronaldo could be fined two weeks’ wages for his disobedience – with the star’s weekly salary said to be in the region of £500,000 ($550,000).
The scandal will be seen as hastening a potential exit for Ronaldo when the January transfer window opens. Ten Hag and members of the United hierarchy are said to have given their blessing for Ronaldo to leave, although finding a suitable landing spot may prove difficult considering his mammoth current wage.
Ronaldo had attempted to force through a transfer before the current season, but efforts from agent Jorge Mendes were met with rejections from the likes of Chelsea and Bayern Munich.
Ronaldo, who is in the final year of the two-year deal he signed when returning from Juventus last year, has been used sparingly by Ten Hag so far this season, and has scored just twice in 12 appearances for United across all competitions.