Man United boss Erik ten Hag has criticised Cristiano Ronaldo and Diogo Dalot after they left a pre-season friendly before the full-time whistle.
Ronaldo’s future has been the talk of the summer so far during this transfer window. He initially informed United he wanted to leave the club in June.
He then did not travel with the club on their pre-season tours of Australia and Thailand due to ‘family reasons‘. In the meantime, speculation grew over what was next for the Portuguese icon.
It seemed likely that he would play no part in any of United’s pre-season fixtures. However, he confirmed on Instagram that he would feature in the club’s friendly against Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The 37-year-old played 45 minutes in the 1-1 draw, being replaced by Amad Diallo at half-time. Amad scored two minutes after coming onto the pitch.
The game was Ronaldo’s first since June 9, when he played 90 minutes of a Nations League game for Portugal. It was seen as a good runout for a player essentially playing pre-season catchup.
Ronaldo leaves Old Trafford early
However, shortly after his substitution, Ronaldo decided to leave Old Trafford before the full-time whistle.
Pictures uploaded to social media showed Ronaldo and team-mate Diogo Dalot outside the stadium whilst the game was still going on. Dalot was not in the squad on Sunday.
There was no immediate comment from United, or Erik ten Hag, about whether the club sanctioned Ronaldo’s early departure. However, the Red Devils boss has since responded – and it’s fair to say he isn’t impressed.
Erik ten Hag slams Cristiano Ronaldo, Diogo Dalot
During pre-season, Erik ten Hag has made sweeping changes across the board at Old Trafford. His primary focus is on discipline. The Dutchman has created a new set of strict rules that United players must follow, based on body language, punctuality and social media usage.
Last week, The Athletic reported that a player was late to a team meeting held by Ten Hag in Australia. In response, the 52-year-old dropped the player from the matchday squad for the next game.
When asked about Ronaldo and Dalot’s indiscretion, the United boss gave a firm verdict.
He said (quotes via Manchester Evening News): “There were many more who went home. So you condone that? Certainly not. It’s unacceptable. For everybody.
“I tell them, that it is unacceptable, and that we are a team, so a selection. You have to stay until the end.”
It will be interesting to see whether Ten Hag takes action against Ronaldo and Dalot, with United’s first game of the season taking place on Sunday. They host Brighton at Old Trafford, with a 2pm kick-off.
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