Manchester United

Ralf Rangnick explains Cristiano Ronaldo substitution drama

Jamie Spencer
Cristiano Ronaldo wasn't happy about being substituted at Brentford
Cristiano Ronaldo wasn't happy about being substituted at Brentford / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo questioned why he was substituted ahead of one of the younger players during the midweek win over Brentford.

Ronaldo was visibly unhappy when he was withdrawn with United leading 2-0, throwing his tracksuit jacket to the floor and sitting in the dugout with a face like thunder.

Rangnick insists the decision was justified when Marcus Rashford, who came on as part of the double substitution, scored soon afterwards. He also explained that Ronaldo’s reaction ‘wasn’t a problem at all’, but stressed the importance of putting the team ahead of any individual player.

“I think we shouldn’t make too much of a fuss out of it. I can only speak for myself and my coaching staff,” the United boss said ahead of facing West Ham on Saturday.

“I explained that to him, even during the game, when we had that little conversation after we had scored the third goal. The job of a football manager is to help teams win games. For me, it was clear from our experience at Villa Park, that this time we had to do things better. We did it better.

“The only question was, ‘Who do we take off?’ Of course, Cristiano is a prolific goalscorer as a player who always wants to play and score goals. He was asking, ‘Why me? Why didn’t you take off one of the younger players?’ But the answer came five minutes later when one of the younger players scored the third goal.

"Maybe Cristiano could have also scored that goal, but football is not always ‘maybe’, it’s about taking a decision in the right moment.”

Ronaldo made headlines earlier this month when he questioned the mentality of some younger players at the club and their apparent unwillingness to accept criticism.

Rangnick explained that Ronaldo’s reaction was hardly a surprise, suggesting it is in the nature of attacking players and goalscorers to want to stay on the pitch at all times.

“He hasn’t been substituted for the first time in his career. I think there have been a few other substitutions – as far as I know, even under Sir Alex [Ferguson]. That a player like Cristiano doesn’t like to be substituted is, for me, pretty normal,” the German said.

“His reaction was emotional but for me this wasn’t a problem at all. I’ve been managing other players, maybe not with quite as big a name as Cristiano, so I know how offensive players behave and react to this sort of substitution.

“It’s about our team and getting points. We are in a position where every single game is of great importance, where we need to make sure we get the maximum amount of points.

“The team is more important, no matter who it is, if it’s Cristiano or Edinson or Bruno or any other player – Bruno has also been substituted and was not happy with that in the last couple of weeks. It’s about what is in the best interest of the team and the club.”

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!