Cristiano Ronaldo’s chat with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gives Man Utd a problem before Brighton
Crisitano Ronaldo's Man Utd conduct discussed by Erik ten Hag
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As Manchester United prepare to lock horns with Brighton on Sunday, Cristiano Ronaldo’s involvement in the game remains up in the air. The Portugal international feels he’s ready to feature against Graham Potter’s side, despite a flat cameo against Rayo Vallecano last time out. And a conversation the veteran had with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last year gives Erik ten Hag a real dilemma ahead of the match at Old Trafford.
Manchester United go up against Brighton on Sunday hoping for a repeat of what happened in the same fixture last term.
Back in February, they won 2-0 with both Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes on target to give Ralf Rangnick’s side all three points.
And United know they must win to lift some of the doom and gloom mood around the club, with the Red Devils signing just three players so far.
Ahead of the contest, it’s unclear if Ronaldo will be featuring in the contest.
The Portugal international feels he’s ready after impressing in training and, with Anthony Martial out injured, wants to be deployed in the No 9 role.
Ten Hag has made it clear, however, that he will rule with an iron fist. It will be his decision, and his only, to what happens.
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Last year, however, The Sun revealed Ronaldo had had a chat with Solskjaer about his game time.
The veteran had been benched for a 1-1 draw with Everton, much to his annoyance, with Solskjaer feeling he’d benefit from a rest.
It was a decision that backfired, with United failing to win and Sir Alex Ferguson even criticised that call during a chat with UFC star Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Ronaldo then proceeded to tell Solskjaer he wouldn’t take kindly to being dropped because he’s fit to start each and every single match.
A source was quoted as saying: “Ronaldo was extremely disappointed for being benched.
“Ole presumed that he was tired after the Villarreal game, so he decided to only put him on early in the second half.
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“But Cristiano told him that he will tell him when he isn’t fit to play and that he wants to play in every single league game.
“He also told him that he has come here to win trophies and that United need to play their most important players in all of the games.”
Ronaldo was livid after the Everton game, storming straight down the tunnel after failing to acknowledge supporters inside Old Trafford.
And that shows exactly what Ten Hag will have to contend with providing the 37-year-old stays put, amid his desire to leave for a team playing in the Champions League.
If Ten Hag does leave Ronaldo on the bench, he will risk upsetting the veteran.
That’s something the club can’t afford to happen given his size and stature and prolific goalscoring record, with his 24 goals across all competitions proof he’s still got plenty to give.
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And it would add to the issues surrounding the Red Devils at present as they seek a drastically better campaign.
So drop Ronaldo at your peril.
Sure, this version of the veteran is a far cry from the one that tore up the Premier League during his first stint in England.
But Ronaldo remains a Galactico and this will be the first true test of Ten Hag’s mettle and whether he’s got the courage to make the hardest calls of all.
Meanwhile, former United star Gary Neville thinks his old side would be wise to offload the Portugal international.
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“Ronaldo’s achievements in football go beyond anything anyone could ever wish for,” Neville said on The Overlap.
“He’ll go down in the top players of all time and always will be and what happens this summer at Manchester United will be forgotten about in 20 years.
“But it’s unpalatable for me to watch the next Manchester United captain, the next Manchester United senior player and thinking that at this moment in time the star player in the dressing room is playing up.”
And he added: “You can’t have your star player in a club running the shop. You cannot have it.
“So when Sir Alex Ferguson in the past moved players on, its because he was needed to be moved on.
“I know Manchester United fans want Ronaldo to stay but if Ronaldo wants to leave, Manchester United, in my mind, should facilitate that.”
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