Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag will offer Cristiano Ronaldo a route back into the team this week – providing he accepts his reduced role in the squad and expresses ‘contrition’ over last week’s incident.
Ronaldo refused to come on as a substitute during United’s 2-0 victory over Tottenham on Wednesday, instead storming down the tunnel with the game still going on.
As a result, the 37-year-old attacker was banished from the squad for Saturday’s game with Chelsea having also been exiled from first-team training.
Erik ten Hag, who has given his side Monday off ahead of Thursday’s Europa League game against FC Sheriff, has explained Ronaldo will still have a key role to play this season.
But The Athletic claim the United manager first wants to hear what the former Real Madrid forward has to say on what has transpired over the last five days.
Ten Hag will allow the veteran to re-join first-team training should he ‘accept flexibility over his selection and express contrition’ over his tantrum last week, the report states.
But if Ronaldo refuses to accept his lesser role in the team and again pushes for an exit, ten Hag will give him the green light to find a new employer in January.
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Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes sought to do just that in the summer with Chelsea, Bayern, Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain among the teams to reject the opportunity to sign the Portugal international.
Napoli, Borussia Dortmund and Ronaldo’s boyhood club Sporting CP were also contacted but expressed huge concerns over the cost of signing the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
United are believed to be willing to let Ronaldo leave on a free transfer in the New Year by mutually agreeing to terminate his contract.
Asked if United missed Ronaldo in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea, Ten Hag said: ‘Yes, always he can score a goal. He is valuable for us and we need him that’s clear. I think you see it also in this game that he can finish off that’s quite obvious.’
Pressed on whether he could finally fix his relationship with Ronaldo, Ten Hag added: ‘I think I have said enough about that situation.
‘Let’s focus on this game, it was a good game for my team and I have to really compliment my team.’