'It's baffling' – Ferdinand slams Ten Hag's 'unfair' decision to keep Cristiano Ronaldo at Man Utd after strop vs Spurs | The Sun
20th October 2022

MANCHESTER UNITED legend Rio Ferdinand has slammed Erik ten Hag's "unfair" decision to leave Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench for their 2-0 win over Tottenham.

Ronaldo, 37, stormed down the tunnel before the final whistle at Old Trafford on Wednesday night as he was left unused for the entirety of the game.


The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has started just two of Man Utd's 12 Premier League games so far this season.

And Ferdinand, who played with Ronaldo during his first stint at the club, feels it is not fair on anyone for the situation to carry on like this.

Speaking on his FIVE YouTube channel, he said: "My only thought could be that Cristiano is being saved for the weekend against Chelsea. That's the only way I see it, logically.

"He didn't play today and I think Ronaldo will be absolutely fuming with that naturally and I wouldn't expect anything different from him.

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"I think the big problem Erik ten Hag's got is that, coming up to this next window, I think he's got to think very carefully about what he does.

"If he doesn't see Cristiano Ronaldo as a starter in his team more often than not, I think he has to release him from the contract, has to let him go.

"It's not fair on anybody – the club, Cristiano, Erik ten Hag or the players – that after every game he doesn't start is 'why didn't didn't Cristiano Ronaldo start?' and that's the story.

"Man Utd have won 2-0 today and one of the leading stories will probably be about Ronaldo tomorrow and that can't be right."

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He continued: "So you sit here and think 'why did Man Utd not just let him go then?' if Erik ten Hag kind of knew he wasn't going to part of his main plans.

"That's the baffling part for me because you think what someone's done in their career, at his level, the manager surely would have known before the season started 'am I going to really play Ronaldo a lot? Is he really what I want in my team? Is he the future of what I'm building around?'

"It looks to me right now as though he would have aired on the side of 'no'. If that's the case, I feel he probably should have let Cristiano go.

"It's probably going to be something that hampers him [Ten Hag] going forward until the day Ronaldo leaves the football club because of how big he is, how much of an icon, how much of a superstar he is."

Ferdinand wasn't the only pundit who weighed in on the Ronaldo situation following the game.

Sky Sports pundit Lee Hendrie described the Portuguese superstar's actions as "incredibly disrespectful".

And Gareth Ainsworth, who was alongside Hendrie on Soccer Saturday, went one step further by insisting "his time is over at United".

When quizzed on how he will handle Ronaldo's storming down the tunnel, Ten Hag said: "We will deal with that on Thursday. I saw him leaving but I didn’t speak to him after.

"I don’t pay attention to that, we want to focus on this team, it was a magnificent performance from all 11 players.

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"Tonight we celebrate the result and the rest we deal with on Thursday."

Ronaldo was trolled on social media after the game as heat maps were mocked up of him sitting on the bench and heading down the tunnel.

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