EPL

Ronaldo defended by Ferdinand as Man Utd great blames Ten Hag

By Sports Desk October 22, 2022

Cristiano Ronaldo's refusal to come on for Manchester United against Tottenham was wrong, but Erik ten Hag is to blame for the Portuguese striker's awkward situation, according to Rio Ferdinand.

Ronaldo walked down the tunnel before full-time in Wednesday's 2-0 win over Tottenham, a game in which United produced arguably their finest performance in more than a year.

Ten Hag vowed to "deal with" Ronaldo the following day and United subsequently released a statement confirming the 37-year-old was to be dropped for Saturday's trip to Chelsea as a consequence of his behaviour.

Around a similar time, media reports suggested Ronaldo also refused to come on against Spurs, with Ten Hag confirming that to be the case in Friday's pre-match press conference.

It was the latest example of Ronaldo's future being called into question under Ten Hag; he did not go on United's pre-season tour for personal reasons shortly after it was claimed he wanted to leave for Champions League football, and then he was one of several players to leave Old Trafford early during a friendly against Rayo Vallecano.

The Portugal forward has also routinely looked off the pace when used by Ten Hag this term, yet his former United colleague Ferdinand – who considers himself a "mate" of Ronaldo – says the manager is the issue.

"I wouldn't have been happy as a player," Ferdinand told BT Sport.

"Ronaldo mentioned he would have handled things differently. Any emotions attached to it; it takes control. I probably would have been in the queue asking him about it.

"There's always another side to it. When you're dealing with Cristiano Ronaldo, he's Ronaldo. The way of treating him is different to everybody else.

"Communication. That's probably the first time in his life where that's not upheld by the manager.

"I'm not saying he was right but there are special players sometimes in a squad that things work differently for.

"It's important for the team to see that he is communicated with. He's 37. He probably needs that more than ever."

It was put to Ferdinand that the manager's decision should be final and respected, but again the former centre-back questioned Ten Hag's communication, suggesting the situation was simmering after Ronaldo was only introduced as a late substitute in the recent 6-3 defeat to Manchester City.

"I'm preparing myself to play games, communicate that [only playing a few minutes] to me," he continued.

"It was disrespectful to bring [Ronaldo] on against Man City for a few minutes. Foresee this happening before it happens. With the way it's panned out, you can see how a player can react.

"He's my mate, I want him to do well, but I would be on to [Ten Hag] and say, 'What are you doing?'

"If communication isn't there, problems arise."

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