Gary Neville says Manchester United should ‘end’ their relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo soon, but Roy Keane says the players ‘have done worse’ and that the striker is no ‘bluffer’.
Ronaldo was dropped by Erik ten Hag in the 1-1 draw at Chelsea after refusing to be a late substitute against Tottenham before leaving early in Wednesday’s win after failing before half-time during a friendly against Rayo Vallecano was eliminated.
“End it this week or create a truce to get to the World Cup and then end it. Because this has to end,” Neville said.
And during a heated debate on Sky Sports with former United captain Roy Keane, Neville argued: “There aren’t many Manchester United fans who would have Ronaldo in their starting XI now. They are better without him – they score more goals without him and without him they win more points. Manchester United are a better team without him.”
Ten Hag says he doesn’t expect Ronaldo to leave the club during the January transfer window and that he is “counting” on him for the rest of the season, but Sky Sports pundit Neville believes the 37-year-old should leave.
“For me, Erik ten Hag had no choice. This is the second time Ronaldo has left Old Trafford before his team-mates have entered the dressing room. This is unacceptable.
Erik ten Hag on Ronaldo after the 1-1 draw with Chelsea
“As always, he can score goals and he has value for us. We need him, that’s clear and you can see that in this game. He can finish, that’s obvious.
“I think I said enough about this situation. Let’s focus on this game, it was a good game for my team and I have to compliment my team.
“If you can deliver that after four games in ten games and then dictate that first half, we were really organized in the second half and you’re fighting back, I think that has to be the focus.”
“If you look at whether Ronaldo should be picked, which is obviously Ronaldo’s main problem at this moment – that he’s not playing – such a great player as he was, Manchester United are better off without him.
“Erik ten Hag knows that, so I think the only thing the club and Ronaldo can do is meet in this next week or so and end the relationship. Cristiano is too good a player, too fantastic a character and the club needs to keep going.
“Ronaldo cannot accept not being the star of the Manchester United team so he has to go – that’s it.”
“The game is full of bluffers, he’s not”
Ronaldo was unhappy with the assignment he was given against Tottenham as goals from Fred and Bruno Fernandes resulted in a deserved 2-0 win in what was widely regarded as United’s best performance of the season.
Sky Sports’ Keane has some sympathy for his former team-mate but is unsure if there is a path for Ronaldo back at the club.
“I’m trying to look at it from the player’s point of view – he’s obviously had enough. He’s lost his head. That’s been brewing for the past few weeks,” Keane said.
“I’ll try to defend him. He’s human and has flaws, he’s frustrated that he doesn’t get opportunities and has enough. He went down the tunnel but the players have done worse at Manchester United – it happens it is human nature.
“Ronaldo must take his medicine”
“Everyone said after the Spurs game it was Manchester United’s best performance in years. Absolute rubbish. Spurs were terrible. Ronaldo scored a hat-trick when United beat Spurs at home last season so he’s more than capable to get on the field and make a difference.
“He has to take his punishment. Is there a way back for him? I’m not sure. I would be more concerned if he was laughing his head off on the bench and not caring. I think he cares . This game is full of bluffers, he’s not one. He wants to play. He needs to play, a world class player. People say he’s not the player he was 10 years ago – of course he’s not, but he was the best Scorer for him United last season in a really bad United team.
“They asked the manager in the press conference if Ronaldo refused to come, but they should have asked him when he would use him? Late in the game? I’m not sure that was a smart move. He got to.” take his medicine. He did something he shouldn’t have done. Can he return to the team before the World Cup? I do not see it.”
Asked if Man United would be better without Ronaldo, Keane said: “I wouldn’t say that. Would you hang your hat on Rashford or Ronaldo?
“He’s 37, he still wants to be the best in the world, so I admire him. He scores a goal every two games for Man Utd. They were hammered against Man City [without him], they lost to Brighton, they lost to Brentford, they drew today and celebrated like they won the league. Man United are fifth in the league.
“They beat Spurs the other day and thought they had won the European Cup. They beat Spurs last year and Ronaldo scored a hat-trick. If you have a striker who scores every two games, I don’t care how old he is is. he will do for me.”
Fan View: Should Man Utd Get Rid of Ronaldo?
Sky Sports asked readers to give their opinion on what Man Utd should do with Ronaldo. That’s what they had to say…
thekevlad: Man Utd can’t let Ronaldo go unless they buy two forwards Marcus Rashford isn’t a number 9 and Anthony Martial is made of glass. Ronaldo is our only striker.
Mattywebster13: Ronaldo is a world-class player with a proven record but he’s not happy and I really don’t think he wants to be at Man Utd so why leave him there to bring down the dressing room? Get rid of him and focus on what we have.
bradisared98:I think Cristiano’s attitude is wrong. His ego shows. I think Ten Hag is handling it correctly. No matter how good they are, the best players don’t have the right to do what CR7 does.
Cr700: I would keep him, look at what he did last season. Poor management by Erik ten Hag – I agree with Roy Keane’s comments.
Manny: I think Ronaldo has to work to improve the team. Ronaldo seems to be chasing records instead of thinking for the team. He is 37 years old and needs to work with the team to show his leadership and leadership.
David: Absolutely not! He’s signed to United and has a lot to offer. Saturday night’s game against Chelsea showed that we need his attacking strength and we missed him in attack. Dare I say we would have won if he had come off the bench.
Chris F: Ronaldo has done his best to try and burn his bridges at Old Trafford since the summer. Regardless of his relationship with Erik ten Hag, he should at least have the respect of his teammates to just put his head down and move on, but once again it’s all about him!
Utd1989: Bring him out. He slows down the game, he creates nothing and is clearly a cloud of poison over the squad. His best years are behind him and it’s about time he went somewhere where you don’t have to play well to win trophies.
Yasser Zohdi: Ronaldo should be released as soon as possible. When we re-signed him it was obvious it was for commercial reasons. Ronaldo wants to play every game. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had to change the way the team played and we all know what happened next. His United legacy is definitely tarnished in my eyes. Get rid of CR7.
Peter Hall: Man Utd should have let him go the moment he announced he wanted to leave.