Erik ten Hag drops Cristiano Ronaldo for Manchester United’s game at Chelsea over early tunnel exit

Portuguese striker said to have a fractious relationship with some of the manager’s coaching staff at Old Trafford

Cristiano Ronaldo has been dropped from Manchester United’s squad for Saturday’s game at Chelsea. The punishment was imposed by Erik ten Hag on a day when it emerged that the forward has such a fractious relationship with some of the manager’s coaching staff that he keep his communication with certain members to a minimum.

Ten Hag has omitted Ronaldo as a result of the player walking down the tunnel before the end of the team’s win over Tottenham on Wednesday. The decision has been backed by the club’s hierarchy.

It is thought Ten Hag would countenance Ronaldo leaving in the January window given the 37-year-old’s discontent at being at the club, though the forward’s wage of about £500,000 a week means it may be difficult to agree a deal. The player’s contract expires in June.

Ten Hag is aware of Ronaldo’s reluctance to engage with certain members of his inner circle. The Portugal international voiced frustration regarding some of the conditions at the club’s Carrington training base before the Dutchman took over in summer and was listened to.


This and his professionalism and willingness to mentor young squad members was well received by team-mates, though his popularity may have been affected by his exit down the Old Trafford tunnel on Wednesday.

Immediately afterwards Ten Hag stated he had not spoken to Ronaldo but would address the issue the next day. On Thursday Ronaldo, who wanted to depart United in the summer, arrived at Carrington to discuss the episode with the manager and the punishment was imposed.

It was the second time in less than three months that Ronaldo had left a United match before the final whistle. He also did so after being substituted at half-time of July’s friendly with Rayo Vallecano, leaving Old Trafford with a number of players not in the matchday squad.

Ten Hag later stated that all had been reprimanded and he will be particularly unhappy at Ronaldo’s actions on Wednesday because they can be viewed as disrespectful to him and the squad.

Ten Hag has chosen to leave out Ronaldo this weekend even though his first-choice No 9, Anthony Martial, is injury prone and Marcus Rashford prefers to operate on the left. – Guardian