Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag insists Cristiano Ronaldo is committed to the cause as doubts continue to hang over the 37-year-old’s future at the club.
Ronaldo wanted to leave Old Trafford this summer, citing United’s lack of Champions League football, but a transfer never materialised. The Portuguese icon is now in the second and final year of the two-year contract he signed when he joined the Red Devils from Juventus. (opens in a new tab).
It was reported earlier this week that United would not stop Ronaldo from leaving in January if a suitable offer was made, but Ten Hag is happy with the striker’s attitude.
Speaking ahead of his side’s Europa League trip to Omonia Nicosia on Thursday, the United manager said (opens in a new tab): “[Ronaldo]is really competitive, as we all know. He is not happy when he does not play. But I’ve said it before and I have to say it again: he trains well; he is in a good mood; he is motivated and he gives his best. That’s what we expect.”
Ten Hag’s comments come after he left Ronaldo on the bench for Sunday’s 6-3 derby defeat at Manchester City (opens in a new tab)a decision he later explained was “out of respect” for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
But the Dutchman fully understood Ronaldo’s frustration at not seeing any action, adding: “He’s not happy not to play on Sunday; don’t get me wrong. The question was about his mood on the training ground and when he’s here and he’s happy. Of course he wants to play and he’s screwed when he’s not playing. That’s clear.”
Ronaldo has become accustomed to taking his place among the substitutes this season: he has started just one of United’s seven Premier League games (4-0 defeat in August at Brentford (opens in a new tab)), with Ten Hag favoring Marcus Rashford to lead the line.
Sunday, however, was the first time Ronaldo was available and hadn’t entered the pitch since May 2021 – when he was an unused substitute for the final game of his time at Juve.
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