Manchester United legend Gary Neville has said he is ‘disappointed’ in Cristiano Ronaldo and has called on the five-time Ballon d’Or winner to make some sort of public statement about his situation, having made it clear to the club behind the scenes he wants to leave.
With United having missed out on Champions League qualification, Ronaldo urged the Old Trafford hierarchy to consider suitable offers for him. Jorge Mendes even attended a meeting at Carrington to discuss things, but United have held firm.
Ronaldo, who was given additional time off for family reasons that delayed his return to pre-season training, courted further controversy when he was seen leaving early during United’s pre-season friendly against Rayo Vallecano last weekend. However, he wasn’t the only one and Erik ten Hag is disappointed it has been the 37-year-old who has taken almost all of the backlash.
Neville has suggested that Ronaldo still has the quality to command a starting place – he may well be rushed into the XI against Brighton on Sunday because Anthony Martial is injured – but wants his former teammate to take some responsibility for the sage and relieve Ten Hag of the pressure.
"If he’s fit you start him and I hope he stays," Neville said on Sky Sports’ Friday Night Football.
"I’m a little bit disappointed in him. I’m disappointed, to be fair, he’s letting the manager go into those press conferences. Cristiano now is a good age, he’s been the greatest player in the world alongside [Lionel] Messi for the last 10 years. He’s got all the experience in the world. Would it be too much to ask him to do an interview to clear things up and what he’s thinking?
"Would that be too much to ask a senior player? Is he not going to do an interview for the next three weeks or after the game on Sunday? We’re going to ask for him, is he going to come up, stand up, do the interview and not let people do the speaking for him. I think that’s the thing that would be a stat. For me, I’m disappointed because the clarity we haven’t got."
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Neville speculated that Ten Hag may not have been telling the truth about Ronaldo saga in press conferences because his hands are tied.
"The reality of it is if a Champions League club comes in for Cristiano Ronaldo, I think we know Cristiano Ronaldo wants to take that move. We know that don’t we? It’s emerged over the last few weeks and at the moment no one's coming for him. That’s why the club is saying they want him to stay but I think if someone came in he would go," Neville continued.
"Should Manchester United be waiting two or three weeks for their star striker to leave? Or should they say you’re not leaving come May, that would be clarity from the club but then there’s a risk that in two weeks' time, Cristiano throws his toys out the pram and says he’s leaving, that sort of thing that can happen. That’s why I feel it’s unpalatable."