Graeme Souness surprisingly takes Ronaldo’s defence amid sad situation

Pundit and Daily Mail columnist Graeme Souness has weighed in on the Cristiano Ronaldo situation – but surprisingly has taken the side of the forward. 

Ronaldo will not feature for Manchester United at all during their match against Chelsea on Saturday evening after refusing to come on as a substitute in the later stages of United’s 2-0 win vs Tottenham Hotspur. He has also been made to train alone.

The Portugal international left Old Trafford entirely before the final whistle was blown during the Red Devils’ triumphant win against their top-four rivals.

Ronaldo has made only two starts in the Premier League this season; Brentford and Newcastle, he failed to score in either game. He has only netted one league goal this campaign against Everton, which also marked his 700th career goal.

With his contract set to expire at the end of the 2022/2023 season, it’s unlikely Ronaldo will be a Red beyond the summer.

Souness’ take

In his column with the Daily Mail, Souness wrote: “It’s a desperately sad situation that Cristiano Ronaldo finds himself in. Here is a player who has taken Manchester United to the heights and scored goals for them which will live long in the memory — yet look what that club have reduced him to.

“This is a situation entirely of United’s making. A problem they just didn’t need to create. Erik ten Hag has made some bold and courageous decisions, trying to instil discipline and unity. How did he think the player was going to respond to being asked to sit on a bench, run up the touchline doing warm-ups, only to remain redundant and unused, with the cameras trained on his every facial expression?

He told United before the start of the season that he wanted to go. He made no pretence about that. What has ensued is much like Jesse Lingard’s treatment by the club last season, only on a far greater scale. United could have sold Lingard to West Ham in January, chose not to and then didn’t use him. 

“If I was Ten Hag, I would be concerned about having Ronaldo around the place because if you are not going to use him, you know he’s going to have a voice in the dressing room. That’s certainly not conducive to a harmonious working environment.

“The communication between manager and player is clearly not what it should be and despite what happened on Wednesday, I think it is incumbent on United to do better by him. To go to whatever lengths necessary not to humiliate the man in such a way.”

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  1. Never a truer word spoken. The treatment of this man by Ten hag is diabolical… he has belittle him in front of millions so how does he expect him to react.
    United you have a very short memory and you should be ashamed. United have never been the same since sir Alex left. So last season had nothing to do with Ronaldo in fact he had crap players around him.

  2. Ronaldo is a pro footballer with many years experience. He is acting like a small child because he was used and also refused to go on near the end. I am a big Ronaldo fan but he needs to set an example to the younger players.
    He had offers over the summer. Not as many as he wanted as most clubs won’t take him on anymore due to his age and wages.
    Ten Hag was correct to reprimand him.

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