Ronaldo had to apologise to Real Madrid stars as Man Utd talks beckon
Erik ten Hag to 'deal with' Ronaldo early exit down tunnel
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Cristiano Ronaldo will need to apologise and show genuine contrition if he’s to return to the Manchester United fold following his strop in their recent 2-0 win over Tottenham. The Portugal international refused to come on during the showdown at Old Trafford, with many – including Erik ten Hag – believing he disrespected his team-mates. And it isn’t the first time the 37-year-old has faced such accusations, having been forced to issue an apology during his glittering spell at Real Madrid.
Ronaldo became the stuff of Real Madrid legend during his spell at the Bernabeu after joining from United for a huge £80million back in the summer transfer window of 2009.
The Portugal international netted 450 goals from 438 appearances for the club, firing them to four Champions League crowns in the process.
While Ronaldo was a substantial hit at the Bernabeu, however, there was still the odd occasion when he’d make the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
One such incident was in 2016, when he gave an interview saying the rest of the club’s players weren’t on his level.
“It annoys me that they say that Cristiano has dropped his level, and that is why Madrid have dropped their level,” he said following a 1-0 derby defeat to Atletico Madrid that year.
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“If they were all at my level we would be first. You always ask me these crappy questions – it seems that here in Spain, I am in the (expletive).
“The numbers do not lie. Statistics never trick you – it is easy.”
Afterwards, however, Ronaldo then apologised to his Real Madrid pals and insisted wires had been crossed with his comments.
“When I said that I meant the physical level, not the game. I am not better than any of my teammates,” he said.
Goal claimed that Ronaldo sought out team-mates in the dressing room, insisting he ‘expressed himself poorly’ and ‘didn’t wish to annoy’ any of his pals.
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And they appeared to accept his explanation by ‘playing down’ the comments from the veteran.
Now, six years on, Ronaldo has another apology to make.
It’s thought United players weren’t too bothered by his strop against Tottenham, instead choosing to gleefully celebrate in the home dressing room after the game.
But Ten Hag was unimpressed and wants him to show genuine contrition before welcoming him back into the fold.
Ronaldo did offer an explanation for his antics, saying on social media: “As I’ve always done throughout my career, I try to live and play respectfully towards my colleagues, my adversaries and my coaches.
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“That hasn’t changed. I haven’t changed.
“I’m the same person and the same professional that I’ve been for the last 20 years playing elite football, and respect has always played a very important role in my decision making process.
“I started very young, the older and most experienced players examples were always very important to me.
“Therefore, later on, I’ve always tried to set the example myself for the youngsters that grew in all the teams that I’ve represented.
“Unfortunately that’s not always possible and sometimes the heat of the moment gets the best of us.
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“Right now, I just feel that I have to keep working hard in Carrington, support my teammates and be ready for everything in any given game.
“Giving in to the pressure is not an option. It never was. This is Manchester United, and united we must stand. Soon we’ll be together again.”
But Ten Hag actually wants him to say sorry to the rest of the squad at Carrington as well.
Ronaldo is one of the greats of the game.
And, if he does return to action, then United fans will be hopeful he can deliver the goods and regain his goalscoring touch between now and the end of the season.
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