Roy Keane defends Cristiano Ronaldo as the Manchester United star received further criticism for his refusal to come on as a substitute during Wednesday’s game against Spurs.
Ronaldo, who has struggled for playing time this season under new United boss Erik ten Hag, was seen walking out of the game at Old Trafford before the full-time whistle and the Dutch manager later confirmed that the striker had been asked to come on and refused.
It was the second time during Ten Hag’s time at the club that Ronaldo has left a game early, having previously left at half-time during a pre-season friendly.
Ronaldo is also known to have left games early at his former club Juventus under the management of both Maurizio Sarri and Andrea Pirlo, having been substituted before full-time by both managers.
Nevertheless, former United captain, Keane was quick to jump to Ronaldo’s defense following the clash with Chelsea on Saturday night, getting into a heated dispute with fellow pundit and former teammate Gary Neville.
“There are players at Man United who have done a lot worse than he’s done,” Keane insisted on Sky Sports.
“You know Paul Scholes. He refused to play for Man United. He got fined 2 weeks’ wages but he found his way back.
“Rio Ferdinand missed a drugs test; he got banned for eight months.”
Neville took the opposite view, claiming: “There aren’t many Manchester United fans right now who would take Cristiano Ronaldo in their starting 11.
“They’re better without him, they score more goals without him and they win more games without him. That’s a fact – he’s just got to get used to that.”
Ronaldo’s future at Old Trafford has cast a shadow over United’s season so far, with the Portuguese allegedly unhappy at his lack of game-time under Ten Hag.
The forward also attempted to force a move away from the club in the summer, but no such move materialised.
Despite this turbulence, United have enjoyed a solid start to the season under their new manager and currently sits in fifth place in the Premier League table.
Transfer rumours: Real Madrid interested in Son; Man Utd scouting Ronaldo replacements
Real Madrid is interested in striking a deal for Son Heung-min, who has struggled to showcase his best form with Tottenham this season. (SPORT1)
PSG are working to renew Lionel Messi’s contract in the hope of keeping him away from Barcelona, who are hopeful he will walk away from his current deal and return to Camp Nou on a free transfer next summer. (Le Parisien)
‘Industry insiders’ believe the battle for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham will be fought between Manchester City, Chelsea and Real Madrid next summer, with the teenager likely to cost around €150m. (Bild)
Cristiano Ronaldo is open to a return to Italy in January and could be of interest to Napoli, who were interested in the summer and are understood to remain keen on signing the Man Utd forward. (The Sun)
Erik ten Hag is looking to replace Ronaldo with one of Bayer Leverkusen’s Patrik Schick, Lille’s Jonathan David or Lyon’s Moussa Dembele. (The Mirror)
Man Utd is also interested in Roma striker Tammy Abraham, who is being scouted by Tottenham as well. (Calciomercato)
Chelsea manager Graham Potter is not interested in signing Ronaldo and, as a result, co-owner Todd Boehly will prioritise a move for AC Milan’s Rafael Leao instead. (CBS Sports)
Palmeiras striker Endrick has been contacted by PSG, who are readying a bid of €30m for the teenager in the hope of beating Real Madrid and Barcelona to his signature. (Bruno Andrade)
Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth in the latest episode of Talking Transfers. The team discuss Cristiano Ronaldo’s Man Utd future, interest in Naby Keita and a decision looming for Harry Kane. Available on all audio platforms.
Arsenal is ‘willing to do anything to finalize a deal for Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. They are preparing an offer of £43m plus Albert Sambi Lokonga to try and recruit the Serb. (Calciomercatoweb)
Barcelona’s next transfer priority is to sign a replacement for the ageing Sergio Busquets and Ajax’s Edson Alvarez has emerged as a top target. Scouts have followed Alvarez, who was the subject of a £50m bid from Chelsea in the summer, all season. (Sport)
Antonio Conte is preparing for the January transfer window and will ask Tottenham to sell both Bryan Gil and Japhet Tanganga, while right-back Djed Spence is expected to depart on loan as well. (The Times)
Real Madrid is ready to offer a new three-year contract to Marco Asensio, who has attracted interest from Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham. (SER Deportivos)
Scouts from Leeds United have been closely following Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie, who is also on the radar of Arsenal and Tottenham. (CBS Sports)
Bayern Munich was keen on signing Atletico Madrid forward Joao Felix last summer but has dropped their interest completely following the arrival of Sadio Mane. (Sky Germany)