Gary Neville has urged Cristiano Ronaldo to speak publicly about his future at Manchester United as he believes the “chaotic” situation has led to an unwanted distraction for new manager Erik ten Hag heading into the new season.
Ronaldo has asked to leave United and has only played 45 minutes since pre-season after family reasons kept him from the club’s summer tour.
Ten Hag has confirmed Anthony Martial will be out on Sunday through injury but refused to reveal whether Ronaldo will start in his place. The 37-year-old and Marcus Rashford are the only direct substitutes for Martial unless Ten Hag opts for a false nine, which he experimented with last season.
Ronaldo is reportedly looking to leave United to play for a club competing in the Champions League next season, but Neville claims the Portuguese should clarify his position to fans at a time when the club is looking for some much-needed stability .
Speaking of Friday night soccerNeville said: “The situation with Ronaldo is distracting. You saw Ten Hag having to answer questions about it in Friday’s press conference.
“The fact that Anthony Martial was injured and he’s the only other centre-forward and actually he was about to leave the club six months ago.
“The fact that they didn’t bring Frenkie de Jong in, the fact that you weren’t supported like the other managers and the early signings means I think it’s a tougher job for Ten Hag than it already was.”
When asked if he would start Ronaldo, Neville added: “If Ronaldo is fit, start him and I hope he stays.
Apparently, Sky will ask about him after the game on Sunday. Will he come out, stand up, do the interview and not let everyone else answer the questions for him?
“I’m a bit disappointed in him for letting the coach go to these press conferences. Cristiano Ronaldo is in a good age now. He was the greatest player in the world along with Lionel Messi for the last 10 years. He has everything.” the experience in the world.
“Would it be too much to ask him to come out and do an interview to clear things up, tell us what he’s actually thinking and what’s actually happening?
“Would that be asking too much to ask an experienced player? Will he not give an interview for the next three weeks? Will he not give an interview after the game on Sunday?
“Obviously Sky will be asking about him after the game on Sunday. Will he come out, stand up, do the interview and not let everyone else answer the questions for him?
“I think that would be something that would be a start.
“So for me I’m disappointed because we don’t have that clarity and the reason Ten Hag is getting a bit nervous 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 a Champions League club steps in for Cristiano Ronaldo in the next two weeks, I think we know he wants to make that move. We know this. It has crystallized over the past few weeks.
“Nobody has come in for him at the moment. That’s why at this point the club are saying he could stay and we want him to stay, but if someone came in he would leave I think.”
“Should Manchester United wait two to three weeks before the end of a transfer window to see if their star centre-forward leaves? I don’t think they should be in that position.
“Do they just say no and tell him he’s staying, whatever? That would be a clarification from the club I suppose, but then there’s a big risk that in two weeks Cristiano will throw his toys out of the pram and say that I go.” .
“Something like that could happen and that’s why I find it inedible.
“There is also a bigger cause for me because I want his career at Man Utd to end well. What he has accomplished at club and in the game is too much to ask for over the next 12 months, encouraging the youth players, be a leader on the pitch and giving the interviews when your team wins and when it loses.
“Make sure you set the standards he always applies in training in terms of his performance. Score the goals and let everyone be fair and let him leave Manchester with nothing but the highest thoughts.
“It’s chaotic for him, chaotic for the club. It’s messy for everyone.
“We want him to stay. We really want him to stay. We just don’t like these side sagas that drag on.
“You never look good. They always look a bit tasteless and I think that needs to be clarified. It needs to be sorted out pretty quickly because we can’t have that for another three weeks if you’re a Manchester United fan, and certainly if you’re Erik ten Hag.
“He has to be able to concentrate on the whole team, on his performance and on the tactical style of play. He doesn’t want to be constantly distracted by the star player and whether he’s staying or going.”
Carragher: Man Utd had 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 as he and agent Jorge Mendes held further talks about his future.
However, United insist they will not approve the sale of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who is firmly in Ten Hag’s plans, despite the new United boss admitting the player is still far behind his team . Fitness buddies.
The loss of Martial, who performed well last season, at United’s season opener has put the new manager in a potentially awkward position so early in his tenure, having most recently also marked Ronaldo’s early departure from Old Trafford – along with other players had weekend’s friendly with Rayo Vallecano as ‘unacceptable’.
There has been much debate as to whether Ronaldo fits into the new style of play Ten Hag is trying to implement at Old Trafford and whether he still has the ability to press from the front and play in a modern system.
Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, alongside Martial, have shown signs of a revival in the game as a more fluid front three last season and Jamie Carragher believes United must now draw a line under the Ronaldo saga.
“I’ve been critical of Ronaldo’s signing since he came on and I said Ten Hag should really move on,” Carragher continued Friday night soccer.
“I know it’s easier said than done to oust a player but we really want him to stay because we’re talking about him and he’s making headlines. He’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
“We have some of the best players, the biggest names and managers in Klopp and Guardiola and Ronaldo is one of the biggest names, if not the biggest name, because of his history as a player and what he’s done and achieved.
“If you really look at it from an analytical point of view at Man Utd, I think they would be better without him and almost starting over with a younger team.
“But in terms of our job and what we do to cover the big names and talking points, he’s an absolute superstar. He’s a mega star.
“When he plays at the weekend we all focus on him and analyze his performance, his body language and how he is with the coach on the sidelines.
“He’s a big story and so in a way you want to keep him in the Premier League.”
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