Cristiano Ronaldo will not be part of Manchester United’s team when it plays Chelsea this weekend after the star player took his frustration at being an unused substitute to a new level Wednesday by walking off the Old Trafford pitch before the end of a Premier League match with Tottenham Hotspur.
Cristiano Ronaldo speaks after recent controversy and explains his behavior
Cristiano Ronaldo speaks after recent controversy and explains his behavior, “I try to live and play respectfully towards my colleagues, my adversaries, and my coaches. That hasn’t changed. I haven’t changed. I’m the same person and the same professional that I’ve been for the last 20 years playing elite football, and respect has always played a very important role in my decision-making process.I’ve always tried to set an 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.This is Manchester United, and united we must stand. Soon we’ll be together again”.
Ronaldo left the bench area and walked down the tunnel in the 89th minute of United’s 2-0 victory, and Manager Erik ten Hag promised Wednesday to address the matter.
“I don’t pay attention today [to this]. We deal with that [Thursday],” ten Hag said (via the Guardian). “We want to focus on this team. It was a magnificent performance from all 11 players. I have seen him [leaving]. I didn’t speak to him after.
“I enjoyed the [team’s] performance — we are celebrating this victory and now we have to recover from this and we have a big game against Chelsea [on Saturday].”
Ronaldo’s exit came after ten Hag had made three of the five permitted substitutions. Ronaldo got up off the bench shortly after Christian Eriksen and Anthony Elanga entered the match.
Gary Lineker, a former England striker, called Ronaldo’s exit “unacceptable,” telling “BBC Match of the Day” that it detracted from United’s performance. “It is so poor.”
Ashley Williams, a former Wales captain, added, “It was a great night for Manchester United, and here we are again talking about Cristiano Ronaldo — even though he didn’t play.”
Ronaldo’s frustration has been increasing of late and was also evident in United’s 0-0 draw Sunday with Newcastle. After Ronaldo had two apparent second-half goals disallowed, Marcus Rashford replaced him and he walked off shaking his head and “chuntering,” as the BBC elegantly put it.
Micah Richards, a former England defender, said it was time for the team to allow Ronaldo to leave more than just the pitch.
“His manager had problems with him at the start of the season, during preseason, and to then carry this on … I just think there is only one way this needs to go now,” Richards told BBC Radio 4 (via the BBC). “They need to come to an agreement in January [during the transfer window], and they need to let him go. He is undermining the manager there, so I think it’s best if they just part ways.”
Ronaldo got his say in the situation later Thursday, writing in an Instagram post that “sometimes the heat of the moment get’s [sic] the best of us.”
“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 haven’t changed. I’m the same person and the same professional that I’ve been for the last 20 years playing elite football, and respect has always played a very important role in my decision making process,” Ronaldo wrote.
“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. Unfortunately that’s not always possible and sometimes the heat of the moment get’s 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.”
Peter Schmeichel, a former Manchester United goalkeeper, said the 37-year-old Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner as the world’s best player, knew the message he was sending Wednesday.
“It’s the first time I can say that I am disappointed with him. Normally I back him; I understand his situation,” Schmeichel told BBC Radio 5 Live. “We are in transition. Manchester United are now five managers down the road since Alex Ferguson [who retired in 2013 after winning the Premier League for the 13th time].
“We have got Erik ten Hag in now who has very clear ideas about the way he wants to play football. We need understanding and time from everyone. We don’t need distractions like that, and that’s a disappointment, I would say.”