Gary Neville has called on Cristiano Ronaldo to speak publicly about his future at Manchester United, believing the “messy” situation has created an unwanted distraction for new manager Erik ten Hag heading into the new season.
Ronaldo has asked to leave United and has just 45 minutes of game action to his name since preparing for the season after family reasons kept him away from the club’s summer tour.
Ten Hag has confirmed that Anthony Martial will not be able to participate in Sunday’s visit to Brighton due to an injury, but declined to reveal whether Ronaldo will start in his place. The 37-year-old and Marcus Rashford are the only direct replacements for Martial, unless Ten Hag opts for a false nine that he experimented with in preparation.
Ronaldo reportedly wants to leave United to play for a club that will compete in next season’s Champions League, but Neville insists the Portuguese should clarify his position to supporters at a time when the club is looking for much-needed stability.
Talk about Friday night football,,Neville: “The situation with Ronaldo is distracting. You saw Ten Hag answer questions about this at the press conference on Friday.
“The fact that Anthony Martial has been injured and is the only other striker, and he was actually supposed to leave the club six months ago.
“The fact that they didn’t get Frenkie de Jong in, the fact that you weren’t supported like the other managers have and getting the signings early, I think it’s all a harder job for Ten Hag than it already is. is.” used to be.”
When asked if he would start Ronaldo, Neville added: “If Ronaldo is fit, you start him and I hope he stays.
It is clear that Sky is going to ask him after the game on Sunday. Is he going to come out, get up, do the interview and not let everyone answer the questions for him?
“I’m a little disappointed in him because he lets the manager go to those press conferences. Cristiano Ronaldo is a good age now. He has been the best player in the world for the past ten years, along with Lionel Messi. He has all the experience in the world.
“Would it be too much to ask for him to come out and do an interview to clear things up, tell us what he’s really thinking and what’s really happening?
“Would that be too much to ask of an older player? Isn’t he going to do an interview for the next three weeks? Isn’t he going to do an interview on Sunday after the game?”
“Obviously Sky is going to ask for him after the game on Sunday. Is he going to come out, get up, do the interview and not let everyone answer the questions for him?
“I think that would be a start.
“So for me I’m disappointed because that clarity we don’t have and the reason Ten Hag gets a little jumpy in his press conference is because he’s being asked tough questions. He’s probably not really telling us the truth because he can’t.
“The reality is that if there is a Champions League club for Cristiano Ronaldo in the next two weeks, I think we know he wants to take that step. We know that. It has emerged in recent weeks.”
“At the moment no one has come in for him. That’s why the club is saying at this point that he can stay and we want him to stay, but if someone came I think he would go.”
“Should Manchester United wait two to three weeks before the end of a transfer window to see if their star striker leaves? I don’t think they should be in that position.
“Do they just say no and say he stays no matter what? That would be clarity from the club I think, but then there is a big risk that Cristiano will throw his toys out of the pram in two weeks and say that I departure.” .
“That’s the kind of thing that can happen and that’s why I find it unpalatable.
“There is something more important to me, also because I want his Man Utd career to end well. What he has achieved at the club and what he has achieved in the game is too much to ask for the next 12 months for him to encourage the young players, be a leader on the field and do the interviews when your team wins and when they lose.
“Make sure you set the standards he always sets in training in terms of his performance. Score the goals and let everyone be honest and let him leave Manchester with only the highest thoughts.
“This is messy for him, messy for the club. It’s messy for everyone.
“We want him to stay. We desperately want him to stay. We just don’t like these side sagas that drag on.
“They never look good. They always look a bit unappetising, and I think it needs to be clarified. It needs to be fixed pretty quickly because we can’t have this for another three weeks if you’re a Manchester United fan , and certainly if you are Erik ten Hag.
“He has to be able to focus on the whole team, on his performance and on the tactical way of playing. He doesn’t want to be distracted all the time by the star player and whether he stays or goes.”
Carragher: Man Utd better start over with a younger team
Ronaldo was absent from United’s recent pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia and only returned to training last week when he and his agent, Jorge Mendes, continued to discuss his future.
United, however, have insisted they will not approve the sale of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who is firmly in Ten Hag’s plans, although the new United boss has admitted the player still has a long backlog on his team. fitness friends.
The loss of Martial, who performed well in preparation for the season ahead of United’s season opener, has put the new manager in a potentially tricky situation so soon into his tenure, after he also labeled Ronaldo’s early departure from Old Trafford – together with other players – during the past friendly weekend with Rayo Vallecano as “unacceptable”.
Much has been made about whether Ronaldo fits the new style of play that Ten Hag is trying to implement at Old Trafford and whether he still has the ability to push up front and play in a modern system.
Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, alongside Martial, have shown signs of a resurgence in pre-season playing as a more fluid front three, and Jamie Carragher believes United should now draw a line under the Ronaldo saga.
“I’ve been critical of Ronaldo’s signing since he came in and I said Ten Hag should really get rid of that,” said Carragher. Friday night football.
“I know it’s easier said than done to move a player, but we want him to stay because we talk about him and he’s making headlines. He’s Cristiano Ronaldo.”
“We have some of the best players, the biggest names and managers from Klopp and Guardiola, and Ronaldo is one of the biggest names if not the biggest name because of the player he’s been in the past and what he’s done and reaches. .
“So if I look at it from an analytical point of view at Man Utd, I think they would be better without him and almost start over with a younger team.
“But in terms of our work and what we do, in terms of the big names and talking points, he’s an absolute superstar. He’s a megastar.
“When he plays at the weekend, we all focus on him and analyze his performance, his body language and how he is with the manager on the side of the pitch.
“He’s a huge story and that’s why you want to keep him in the Premier League in some ways.”
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