'Brilliant' Erik ten Hag praised for putting Cristiano Ronaldo in his place by prospective Man Utd owner Thomas Zilliacus

Erik ten Hag Thomas Zilliacus Man Utd 2022-23Getty/GOAL
  • Zilliacus late contender for Man Utd takeover
  • Labelled Ten Hag a "brilliant manager"
  • Praised Dutchman for CR7 treatment

WHAT HAPPENED? Despite a tough start to his tenure in Manchester, the Dutchman quickly set about laying down the law and not standing for ill discipline. While Marcus Rashford was one of those to come under Ten Hag's wrath, it was Ronaldo who was punished most severly for his comments berating the Dutchman and the club in general. The contract of the Portugal star was duly terminated and he was shipped off to Al-Nassr, ruthless actions which prospective owner Zilliacus admitted he was a fan of.

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WHAT THEY SAID: “From what I’ve seen, he’s a brilliant manager," the Finnish businessman told Dutch outlet NOS on Tuesday. "What he did with Ajax was amazing and what he’s done now with Manchester United is equally amazing. Because early in the season, things didn’t look very good. And he had the courage, which I really admire, to tell even big estabilished stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo ‘look, this is me running this and this is how I need to do’.

"And that led Ronaldo to leave the club which now seems to have been a good move, because the club is doing significantly better without him. I think he’s done an amazing job. So I really hope that he stays with the club and if I would be the owner I’d definitely want to see him continue.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: While the bids of Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim Ratcliffe were the first to make headlines, Zilliacus is now firmly in the running having emerged on a platform of criticising Sheikh ownership. The Finish businessman has also called for a potential joint bid between prospective buyers, but told NOS that, whatever the format, fans will take centre stage in his process.

“Without fans there is no club," Zilliacus continued. "When the deal is done and I own the club, I will invite them to buy shares in the club. As far as I am concerned, Manchester United does not belong to one person, not an ego trip, but to everyone with a heart for the club.”


The race to own Manchester United is seriously hotting up now...

Erik ten Hag Man Utd Qatar takeoverGetty/GOAL

WHAT NEXT? As the deadline for the second round of bidding has passed, it is now time for the Glazers to review the offers of those looking to buy the club outright, as well as those interested in solely investment opportunities.