Cristiano Ronaldo will not be in Manchester United squad for Chelsea
Cristiano Ronaldo will not be part of Manchester United’s squad for Saturday’s game at Chelsea.
The Portugal forward left Old Trafford before the end of Wednesday’s 2-0 Premier League win over Tottenham – for which he was an unused substitute.
“The rest of the squad is fully focused on preparing for that fixture,” a club statement said.
United say the 37-year-old remains an important part of the squad but regard this as a disciplinary matter.
The game he will miss at Stamford Bridge is a big one, with United just one point behind fourth-placed Chelsea.
Several media outlets are reporting he refused to come on as a late sub against Spurs.
Ronaldo left the bench and walked down the tunnel in the 89th minute, even though United had only made three of their permitted five substitutions. He briefly went into the dressing room before leaving the stadium.
Manager Erik ten Hag said afterwards that he would “deal with” the issue on Thursday.
Ronaldo had also showed his displeasure at being substituted during Sunday’s 0-0 home draw with Newcastle.
Former England striker Gary Lineker said Ronaldo’s behaviour took attention away from United’s impressive performance against Spurs.
“That is unacceptable – it is so poor,” Lineker said on BBC Match of the Day.
Ex-Wales captain Ashley Williams said: “It was a great night for Manchester United and here we are again talking about Cristiano Ronaldo – even though he didn’t play.”
Former England defender Micah Richards said: “For one of the greats of the game to do that when your team are winning, making it about him, is disappointing.”
Richards said Ronaldo’s behaviour was “disrespectful” and he should be allowed to leave in the January transfer window.
“His manager had problems with him at the start of the season, during pre-season, and to then carry this on… I just think there is only one way this needs to go now,” Richards told BBC Radio 4.
“They need to come to an agreement in January and they need to let him go. He is undermining the manager there, so I think it’s best if they just part ways.”
Former United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel said Ronaldo would have been aware such behaviour would create “headlines”.
“It’s the first time I can say that I am disappointed with him. Normally I back him; I understand his situation,” Schmeichel told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“We are in transition. Manchester United are now five managers down the road since Alex Ferguson.
“We have got Erik ten Hag in now who has very clear ideas about the way he wants to play football. We need understanding and time from everyone.
“We don’t need distractions like that, and that’s a disappointment, I would say.”