The superstar striker is down on manager Erik ten Hag’s pecking order this season. In fact, he only managed just one start in the Premier League during the current campaign. The sole starting XI appearance came in the club’s humiliating 4-0 defeat against Brentford on Aug. 13.
The Portugal international again sat on the bench in Manchester United’s recent game against crosstown rivals City. City hammered United 6-3 on the day, as Ronaldo never entered the fray. The player appeared visibly upset throughout the match.
After the game, reporters asked ten Hag why he did not put on Ronaldo as a substitute. “I wouldn’t bring him in out of respect for Cristiano, for his big career,” the manager claimed. “The other thing was the advantage that I could bring on Anthony Martial. He needs the minutes, but I don’t want to point it out like that.”
🎙️ "I wouldn't bring him in out of respect for Cristiano, for his big career"
Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag on why he left Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench…🔴⬇️ pic.twitter.com/1LzPyINdfC
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 2, 2022
The loss to City was United’s first league defeat since the Brentford match. The Red Devils won four consecutive Premier League games with Ronaldo relegated to the bench. During this timeframe, the striker collected just 80 total minutes on the pitch. Including Sunday’s game, Ronaldo has averaged just 16 substitution minutes per game since his last league start.
Ronaldo may depart Manchester United in January
Because he is in the last year of his current contract, Ronaldo can sign for a foreign Champions League team in January. The Portuguese player also has an option to extend his deal with United for an additional season, but that appears extremely unlikely.
The Telegraph is reporting that a January exit seems probable for Ronaldo. The British paper is also claiming that United would not block a potential transfer as well. While the star should have plenty of options to choose from, a move back to Juventus or Sporting would make the most sense.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Action Plus
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