Man Utd must end Ronaldo relationship now – Neville

By Sports Desk October 23, 2022

Manchester United are a better side without Cristiano Ronaldo and need to offload the forward at the earliest possible opportunity, according to Gary Neville.

Ronaldo was left out of the squad for Saturday's 1-1 draw with Chelsea after refusing to come on as a substitute and heading for the tunnel early in the 2-0 win over Tottenham.

Despite finishing as United's top scorer last season, the Portugal international has started just two of United's 11 Premier League matches under Erik ten Hag this term.

United have shown encouraging signs in the absence of Ronaldo, and former team-mate Neville believes the time is right for the player and the club to mutually part ways.

"Cristiano Ronaldo is going to have to go somewhere else and play every week because he can't accept being on the bench," Neville told Sky Sports. 

"That's fine, but end it this week or create a truce to get to the World Cup and then end it. It has to end."

United have failed to win or indeed score in both league matches Ronaldo has started this season, losing 4-0 at Brentford and drawing 0-0 with Newcastle United.

That compares to six wins in the nine league games Ronaldo has not started, with United scoring 16 times at an average of 1.8 per game.

"There aren't many Manchester United fans who would now have Ronaldo in their starting eleven," added Neville, who spent two decades on United's books.

"They are better without him – they score more goals without him and they win more points without him. Manchester United are a better team without him.

"For me, Erik ten Hag had no other option. That's the second time Ronaldo has left Old Trafford before his team-mates have got into the changing room. That is unacceptable.

"When you look at whether Ronaldo should be selected, as great a player as he's been, Manchester United are better without him.

"Erik ten Hag knows that, so I think the only thing the club and Ronaldo can do is get together in this next week or so and end the relationship. 

"Cristiano is too good a player, too fantastic a character and the club have got to move on.

"Ronaldo can't accept not being the star man in Manchester United's team so he's going to have to leave – that's it."

Ronaldo has been directly involved in three goals this season (two goals and one assist), a tally bettered only by Jadon Sancho (4), Anthony Martial (5) and Marcus Rashford (8).

He has played 691 minutes, which is only the 12th most of all United players, but another former United favourite in Roy Keane insists Ronaldo is being unfairly treated. 

"I'm trying to see this from the player's point of view – he's obviously had enough," Keane said. "He lost his head [against Spurs]. That's been brewing over the last few weeks.

"I'm going to try and defend him. He's a human being and has got flaws, feeling frustrated that he's not getting opportunities and he's had enough. 

"He walked down the tunnel but players have done worse things at Manchester United – it happens, it's human nature.

"Everyone was saying after the Spurs game it was United's best performance in years. Absolute rubbish. Spurs were terrible. 

"Ronaldo got a hat-trick when United beat Spurs last season at home, so he's more than capable of getting on the pitch and making a difference."

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