Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag was asked point blank whether his superstar striker, Cristiano Ronaldo, refused to come on as a substitute in the win over Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night.
Ten Hag replied “Yes,” adding that Ronaldo had already been warned about his behaviour after he was spotted leaving Old Trafford before the end of the preseason friendly against Rayo Vallecano back in July.
CR7 was easily spotted exiting down the tunnel before the final whistle had been blown on Wednesday night. Much like with the friendly against Rayo, he also left Old Trafford entirely, before the final whistle sounded.
Manchester United at Chelsea FC FYIs
Kick: Sat Oct. 22, 5:30, Stamford Bridge
Google Result Probability: Chelsea FC win 46% Draw 26% Manchester United 28%
PL Standing, Form Guide: Chelsea FC 4th, 20 pts, DWWWW Manchester United 5th, 19 pts, WDWLW
“I am the manager and I am responsible for the top sport culture here and I have to set standards and values and I have to control them,” Ten Hag added.
“We are a team and in the team, we have values and standards and I have to control that. After Rayo Vallecano, I told [him] it was unacceptable but he was not the only one, but that is for everyone so when it’s the second time, there will be consequences.
“I sent a warning at the start of the season, next time there has to be consequences. Football is a team sport and you have to fulfil certain standards. And I have to control it.”
Ronaldo won’t be part of the team then they take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge tomorrow. He did not train with the squad today and instead worked out with fitness coaches in private.
He’s expected to rejoin the rest of the group on Monday ahead of Thursday’s Europa League tie against Sheriff Tiraspol. It’s safe to say that Ronaldo is absolutely destroying his illustrious legacy at this historical club. And he has no one but himself to blame for that.
There have been reports that the club are willing to cut ties with him, even if it means outright releasing him, in the immediate to near term. For now, Ten Hag maintains that Ronaldo is still an important part of his team.
“The talks are between Cristiano and me,” continued Ten Hag.
“We will 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.
“He remains an important part of the squad.”
Ronaldo and Man United, in year two of his second stint with the club, is not working out for either side. Ronaldo held out of training camp as he tried to force through an exit. When he didn’t get the transfer he wanted, he continued sulking, because he refuses to accept his current status as a mere squad player.
This is getting ugly and will only continue getting uglier the longer it goes on before a parting of ways.
Anthony Martial is also confirmed to be absent at Chelsea, as he continues recovering from a back injury.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and he co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast, part of Edge of the Crowd Network. Follow him and the website on Twitter and Instagram.Follow paulmbanks