June 3, 2023

In an interview with the Dutch outlet Viaplay Sport Nederlandten Haag was asked to give his thoughts on Sunday’s incident at Old Trafford.

After being the only player sent off at half-time during the final pre-season game, Ronaldo was spotted leaving Old Trafford before the final whistle.

It was a moment that sparked much debate, but after initially refusing to comment on the situation, Manchester United said they had “no problem” with the 37-year-old leaving early.

They also confirmed it The Daily Mail that he was one of many players who left Old Trafford while the game was still being played.

Cristiano Ronaldo warms up before the friendly against Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford.  Image credit: Alamy
Cristiano Ronaldo warms up before the friendly against Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford. Image credit: Alamy

Two days later and Erik ten Hag appeared to contradict Manchester United’s response, saying he “doesn’t condone” leaving the pitch early.

Journalist: “At the beginning of the conversation, we talked about how important it is for you that the players arrive on time and your attention to detail. But Cristiano seems to arrive and leave whenever he wants, how do you manage that?”

Ten Hag: “He was allowed to leave for private reasons with his family, so what you are saying is not entirely true.”

Journalist: “But against Rayo, he left the game at half-time.”

Ten Hag: “There were a lot more players that left.”

Journalist: “So you think it’s okay? Pass?”

Ten Hague: “Definitely no.”

Journalist: “So how do you handle this?”

Ten Hag: “I certainly don’t condone it. This is unacceptable. For everyone. We are a team and you have to stay until the end.”

Fans and former players will have their say on the matter in the coming days, among others talkSPORT guest Jamie O’Hara.

“He is one of the best players of all time, but he has to be part of a team and a team,” said the former Spurs midfielder. “If he crawled at half-time and left, that’s not good. You can’t do that as a player.”

Former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy also commented on the situation, saying: “You can’t have a player do that, it’s a horrible example.”

Footage of Ronaldo and Ten Hag having what was described as a “tense” conversation during the pre-season clash also emerged online after Sunday’s 1-1 draw.

As both teams went for a drinks break in the 33rd minute, United boss Erik ten Hag appeared to try and give the striker some tactical advice.

But judging by the video below, Ronaldo responded by defending himself with his arms outstretched. The Express they even suggest that he was seen “rolling his eyes” during the “tense” interaction.

Thoughts on the situation?

Let us know in the comments.

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