Ronaldo refused to come on as sub for United, Ten Hag says

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo warms up ahead of the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)

Cristiano Ronaldo refused to come on as a substitute for Manchester United in its 2-0 win over Tottenham in the Premier League, United manager Erik ten Hag said Friday.

Ronaldo headed to the locker room before the final whistle of Wednesday’s game at Old Trafford in a show of dissent and has since been omitted from United’s squad for the trip to play Chelsea on Saturday.

Ten Hag held talks with Ronaldo on Friday and said the Portugal striker “remains an important part of the squad.”

However, Ten Hag said Ronaldo had to be disciplined for the sake of the culture within the team, having already been critical of the player and some of his teammates for leaving a preseason friendly against Rayo Vallecano early in July.

“I have to set standards and values, and control them,” Ten Hag said.

“I set a warning at the start of the season, and the next time there has to be consequences. Otherwise when you are living together, when you are playing together — and football is a team sport — you have to fulfill certain standards and I have to control it.”

The 37-year-old Ronaldo took to social media late Thursday to explain his behavior in the Tottenham game.

“I’ve always tried to set the example myself for the youngsters that grew in all the teams that I’ve represented,” Ronaldo wrote on Instagram. “Unfortunately that’s not always possible and sometimes the heat of the moment (gets) the best of us.”

Ronaldo trained away from the first team on Friday.

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