Tuesday, February 27News That Matters

What Ronaldo told Ten Hag about Man Utd future in meeting after midweek bust-up

Cristiano Ronaldo has told Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag he wants to fight for his place and up his fitness levels after the midweek bust-up.

The Portuguese threw a strop by refusing to come on as a late sub against Tottenham and then headed straight for the dressing room before the final whistle.

He striker was axed from United’s squad for the trip to Stamford Bridge yesterday and banished to train on his own.

But now Ronaldo has told his boss he wants to get his head down and return to the group in a move that will suit both the player and the club. He is desperate to arrive at the World Cup with Portugal next month in peak condition and knows he won’t achieve that if he is training by himself.

The striker was axed from United’s squad as Casemiro’s late goal rescued a point against Chelsea on Saturday night. Ten Hag said: “Of course we miss him. He can score goals. We need him – that is clear. You could see that in this game.”

Asked how important the point was after the events in the week, Ten Hag added: “Of course it was a big moment in the matter of the week to get a point and it was a well-deserved point.

“But it doesn’t have any matter with the case [of Ronaldo] because [with that] it is more important to have the right culture, the right standards and values. For the longer term it is always more important and in the end that will bring you into the right position.”

The Red Devils still intend to offload Ronaldo in January and club insiders admit they should have let him go in the summer when he made it clear he wanted to join another team which could offer him Champions League football.

United dug in their heels at the time and none of Europe’s biggest sides did anything to change their mind. But, an escape to the MLS in the new year is an option that would suit both parties.

Former Holland international Wim Kieft is close to countryman Ten Hag. He conceded: “The situation with Ronaldo is awful – nobody wants this, it hurts to see what is happening now.

“Ronaldo is not the kind of player who wants to slowly end his career at United, he wants to play, whether he is fit or not, but if he is not scoring goals then Erik has to make big decisions.

“The solution is simple — Ronaldo has to go. He could move to America in January and, at this age, 37, he is not going to be any better than he is now. He will only become less valuable, but in a league like they have in America he can still score goals.

“But, goodness, how could he walk off this week? During a match. His ego could not take it anymore, to be left out.

“He has been an absolute giant in his career. He has won the Ballon d’Or five times and now he has landed himself in this situation, but no football fan wants to see this happen to such a great player.”

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