- Superstar forward wanted to leave
- Deadline passed with no deal done
- Seeing limited game time under Ten Hag
WHAT HAPPENED? The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was prevented from leaving Old Trafford over the summer despite making it clear that he wanted to move on, but game time has been in short supply for an all-time great under new Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag. Ronaldo was an unused substitute in United’s 2-0 victory over Tottenham, leading to him heading down the tunnel before the game had even finished, and Ferdinand believes the 37-year-old will have to see the final months of his contract ripped up in January if an unfortunate situation does not improve.
WHAT THEY SAID: Ferdinand has told his YouTube channel of the struggles being endured by a former team-mate: “My only thought could be is that Cristiano Ronaldo is being saved for the weekend against Chelsea. That’s the only way that I see it, logically, that he did not play. I think Ronaldo will be absolutely fuming with that, naturally. I wouldn’t expect anything different from him. I think the big problem Erik ten Hag has got is that, coming up to this next window, he has to think very carefully about what he does. If he doesn’t see Ronaldo as a starter in his team more often than not, I think he has to release him from his contract. He has to let him go. It’s not fair on anybody, on the club, on Ronaldo, on Ten Hag, that the first question after every game is ‘Why didn’t Ronaldo start?’
“You sit here and think why did Man United not just let him go if Ten Hag knew he didn’t want Ronaldo in his plans. That’s the baffling thing for me. You think what he’s done in his career… at his level… surely the manager would have known before the season started if he was going to play Ronaldo or not, if he wanted him in his team, if he was someone to build around. It looks to me right now that it was a no [he didn’t want Ronaldo]. If that’s the case, he should have let Ronaldo go. It’s going to be something that hampers Ten Hag going forward until the day Ronaldo leaves the club, because of how much of an icon and superstar he is.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Ronaldo has started just two Premier League fixtures for United this season, and has only two goals to his name across domestic and Europa League competition – although the most recent of those did take him to 700 at club level in a remarkable career.
IN THREE PHOTOS:Getty Images
WHAT NEXT FOR RONALDO? United are due to face fellow top-four hopefuls Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, with Ronaldo having registered just two goals against the Blues in 17 previous outings against the west London heavyweights.