Erik ten Hag says Cristiano Ronaldo can “still do it” at Manchester United, but has warned no selection calls will be made based on reputation.
- Red Devils happy to have Portuguese around
- Have given him plenty of bench duty
- Believe he can still make a positive impact
WHAT HAPPENED? The Portuguese superstar is a five-time Ballon d’Or winner and one of the greatest players of all time, but he has seen plenty of bench duty this season and started only five Premier League games. Ten Hag insists the Red Devils are happy to have the 37-year-old around, after seeing him push for a summer move elsewhere, but has made it clear that every player in his squad must earn their place.
WHAT THEY SAID: Ten Hag has told Sky Sports of having to deal with constant questioning of how he handles Ronaldo: “I have to deal with all the players and obviously Cristiano is always a big issue because he is one of the best ever in the world. He is now performing here and it’s great to work with him. The players and the team are really happy he’s in our dressing room. I have to deal with him but you are not getting the merits from what you did in the past, you always get judged by what you are doing in the present. Now is always the issue. He can still do it. He already showed this season he can have an impact. When he is good, he makes a difference. I hope that pushing him that way, he has that impact on the team, that he makes a positive difference for us.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Ronaldo has passed 700 career goals at club level this season, but has just three efforts to his name in the 2022-23 campaign through 16 appearances and has been suffering with illness ahead of United’s trip to Fulham on Sunday.
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WHAT NEXT FOR MAN UTD? The Red Devils face the Cottagers, in what will be their final outing before the World Cup break, sat fifth in the table – six points back on fourth-placed Tottenham, but with two games in hand.