Former Manchester United skipper Roy Keane has accused the club of “disrespecting” Cristiano Ronaldo by leaving him on the substitutes’ bench.
The 37-year-old Portuguese superstar, who has started just one Premier League game this season, was out of action in Sunday’s 6-3 derby at Manchester City with manager Erik ten Hag revealing more late that he had not used it. as a mark of respect.
However, Keane, who played alongside Ronaldo in his first spell at Old Trafford, insists the reverse is true and the club would have been better off allowing him to leave in the summer, just a year away. after his sensational comeback.
Speaking after the match, the Irishman told Sky Sports: “I think Man United are just disrespecting Ronaldo. I think he should have been released before the transfer window.
“I think the coach is clinging to him – okay, you say you need options, but you’re not clinging to Ronaldo so he sits on the bench. That’s the one of the greatest players of all time.
“He had options – this idea that he had no options is bullshit, he had options, four or five very good options.
“Okay, today the manager, he brought [Anthony] Martial and he scored two, so yes, it’s justified, but generally speaking, overall, he won’t play against Ronaldo, we know that. He played one or two European matches.
“It’s just going to get uglier as the season progresses. Okay, Ronaldo is fired up with the upcoming World Cup but if he sits on the bench week after week it’s not good, it’s just going to get ugly.
“I think United showed nothing but disrespect to Ronaldo. They should have let him go when the opportunity arose.
“Like I said he had options to leave, I know that for a fact, and to hold him back to sit on the bench, I think that’s ridiculous for a player of his stature.”
Keane’s comments came as he surveyed the wreckage of a defeat he described as “extremely embarrassing”.
🗣️”They should be embarrassed” 😡— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 2, 2022
Hat-tricks from Erling Haaland and Phil Foden saw the reigning Premier League champions, who were leading 4-0 at the break, claim victory at the Etihad Stadium.
Keane said: “Man City were magnificent. Watching Man City is a pleasure. Watching them live, they are one of the best teams I have ever seen.
“But Man United, [it’s] a huge setback for them. We’ve given them a bit of praise over the past few weeks, but this is a huge step backwards.
“Four-0 at half-time – they were 4-0 down at Brentford – and the performance in the second half, it’s not good, even as a consolation. They scored a few goals – the game is over.
“Man United have nothing to take away from this game. From the players’ point of view, they should be really embarrassed. You can’t go into half-time 4-0 in a derby game, it’s hugely embarrassing .
“Haaland and Foden were brilliant, but if they get the service of people like De Bruyne and you give them time and space, you are looking for trouble, and they have been rightly punished.
“This game is brutal. When you’re not quite there, you get hammered by your local rivals. They should be embarrassed.
“I just can’t imagine walking into a dressing room at a big club like Manchester United and you’re down 4-0 at half-time.
“It must be weird – but saying that, they have to get used to it because they did it at Brentford.
“The manager must be scratching their heads with his staff and thinking, ‘We’ve made progress in the last four games’. Huge setback.
Keane’s former teammate Gary Neville also criticized the performance.
Neville, speaking in his role as co-commentator for Sky Sports, said: “The story of the game is that in the first half Manchester United froze. There’s no doubt that they got it. bottled.
“There have been promises in recent weeks from United. But it reminds us how far behind the best team in the country they are. »