EPL

'Let him go' – Man Utd boss Ten Hag should start Ronaldo or release him, says Ferdinand

By Sports Desk October 20, 2022

Erik ten Hag should offload Cristiano Ronaldo in January if the Portugal striker is not part of his Manchester United plans, Rio Ferdinand has said.

According to former United captain Ferdinand, the stature of Ronaldo means that even as a fringe first-team figure, his presence will loom large.

Ferdinand was reacting to Ronaldo walking away from the United bench early on Wednesday and heading down the tunnel before the end of the game against Tottenham.

That was an issue Ten Hag refused to address after the 2-0 Premier League win at Old Trafford, saying it was a matter to resolve on Thursday. The Athletic reported Ronaldo left the stadium soon after his walk-off.

Ferdinand said on his FIVE YouTube channel: "My only thought could be that Cristiano's being saved for the weekend against Chelsea.

"That's the only way I see it, logically, that he didn't play today. I think Ronaldo will be absolutely fuming with that, naturally. I wouldn't expect anything different from him."

Ferdinand has urged manager Ten Hag to think diligently about how he handles the Ronaldo situation, given the attention that is given to the 37-year-old five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

Marcus Rashford started as United's principal attacker against Spurs and had an impressive game, with United scampering with intent and pressing impressively against Spurs.

It was a game where Ronaldo's presence was not missed, until the moment he grabbed the attention by casually strolling out of sight.

His contract runs to the end of the season, and Ferdinand said: "I think the big problem Erik ten Hag's got is, coming up to this window, he needs to think very carefully about what he does.

"if he doesn't see Cristiano Ronaldo as a starter in his team more often than not, I think he has to release him from his contract, let him go."

Ronaldo embarked on a second spell at United last season, having previously starred for the club prior to an £80million switch to Real Madrid in 2009.

Ferdinand said it was "not fair on anybody" for Ronaldo to always be central to the United narrative if he does not start games.

"You think why did Manchester United not let him go, if Erik ten Hag kind of knew he wasn't going to be part of his main plan," Ferdinand said. "The manager surely would have known before the season started.

"It's going to be something that probably hampers him, the manager, going forward until the day Cristiano leaves the football club, because of how big he is, because of how much of an icon, how much of a superstar, he is."

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