Lisandro Martinez produced a measured response when asked about Cristiano Ronaldo storming down the tunnel before the end of Manchester United’s 2-0 win over Tottenham.
He followed Erik ten Hag’s lead in choosing not to speak about the situation in great detail and instead played it down.
“I didn’t see anything,” explained the defender. “I don’t know. I only enjoy with the people, we won, and that’s important.”
But Martinez’s comment that he didn’t see what was going on because he was ‘enjoying the win with those present’ pretty much sums up Ronaldo situation.
The Portuguese star is no longer present in this United team and even less so in the club’s recent success.
Ronaldo’s last start for United in the Premier League came in the 4-0 hammering by Brentford. Since then he’s largely watched from the bench as they beat Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham.
Ronaldo has been limited to Europa League games – the tournament he was trying to escape at the start of the campaign – and is no longer in Ten Hag’s plans.
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In the aftermath of Ronaldo storming down the tunnel, Ten Hag promised to speak to the forward on the training ground on Thursday, telling the press: “I’ve seen him. I didn’t speak to him after. I’ll deal with that tomorrow.”
But the Dutchman knows that Ronaldo’s time at United is quickly petering out and the player’s decision to move the attention away from the win over Tottenham and towards his sudden exit underlines this.
Alan Shearer was among the pundits who discussed Ten Hag leaving Ronaldo out in recent weeks and suggested the manager got his tactics right.
“I understand his [Ronaldo’s] frustration that he’s not been able to get on the pitch but if you look at the bigger picture his team have put in a really good performance tonight and the manager had a big call to make in leaving him out but it’s turned out to be the right decision because they’ve done everything right,” he said on Amazon Video.
“It’s a difficult situation because, for him [Ten Hag], we’re talking about the best player in the world, maybe the best player we’ve ever seen, so he’s under pressure from that point of view. But it does make things difficult for the manager.”