Erik ten Hag has condemned Cristiano Ronaldo for leaving Old Trafford before Manchester United’s draw with Rayo Vallecano had ended on Sunday.
The manager said it was “unacceptable” to go early and it is understood several players joined Ronaldo in doing so. Ronaldo was photographed outside the stadium before the final whistle, with Diogo Dalot also in the picture. Whereas the latter was not in the match-day squad, Ronaldo played the opening half of the final pre-season friendly.
Ten Hag told the Dutch media outlets AD and Viaplay: “I certainly don’t condone this. This is unacceptable. For everyone. We are a team and you have to stay until the end.”
The manager did not name Ronaldo or Dalot, who had watched from the directors’ box with teammates, or any other players.
Ronaldo’s appearance against the Spanish club was his first under Ten Hag after he missed the previous five friendlies and started training only last week because of a family issue.
Ten Hag said in an interview with Sky Sports News that the 37-year-old could fit into his style of play but was not yet in adequate shape. “I think he can, but to start with he has to get fit. He’s just started. He’s a fantastic football player, he proved it so many times. But you can always be judged by what you are now, what you are presenting now, performing now. The team, and Cristiano by himself, has to prove it.”
Ronaldo wishes to leave United to play Champions League football. With four weeks left before the transfer deadline, which club could be prepared to take on his salary of about £490,000 a week remains unclear.
United’s left-back Alex Telles is close to joining Sevilla on loan.