Manchester United legend Roy Keane has urged Erik ten Hag to ‘put a marker down’ at the club with his handling of Cristiano Ronaldo this month.
The 37-year-old wants to leave United for a second time in his career, but there is not a lot of goalscorer options in the transfer market.
United could lose a player who scored 24 goals last season – in a side that underachieved.
Furthermore, Ronaldo was absent for the majority of pre-season, although he played 45 minutes against Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford last week.
Now an injury to Anthony Martial could put Ten Hag under pressure to start Ronaldo.
Roy Keane played with Ronaldo at United, but he says he’d allow Ronaldo to leave if they get some of their money back. He believes Ten Hag can use this situation to send a message to the rest of the squad.
“We don’t know what Ronaldo’s behaviour is like now that he is back in training,” Keane told Sky Sports on Monday Night Football. “Missing pre-season, obviously we have been told it is family issues, if that’s the case then so be it.
“If it is downed tools then that is unacceptable. But I don’t think it’s such a big deal as everyone’s making [it] out [to be]. When you’re a manager, you don’t put up the trouble, trouble comes your way.
“So this has come to the manager in front of him and he has got to deal with it, but I think he can put a marker down and say to Ronaldo next week or two, and he’s got takers and if the deal works for United they will probably want some money back.
“Go: ‘Yeah if you want to go to Lisbon then off you go’, and the other players are looking and going ‘Okay short-term we will miss him, but in the bigger picture we are trying to rebuild’, because Manchester United aren’t competing for league titles I don’t think for two or three years.”
🗣 “He could put a marker down.”
Roy Keane says Erik ten Hag has the opportunity to make a point to his entire squad by dealing with the Cristiano Ronaldo saga his way. pic.twitter.com/mlk9cLx8F9
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 5, 2022
Footage courtesy of Sky Sports News (H/t Football Daily)
This is not the easiest situation Ten Hag will face and you could tell at Friday’s press conference that he is getting fed up with the constant questions about Ronaldo.
I don’t blame him either.