Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made a controversial call prior to his side’s home match with Everton a fortnight ago when he left star man Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench.
Ronaldo had played a total of 95 minutes in United’s 2-1 Champions League victory over Villarreal just three days prior – where he grabbed a late winner. After a tough night’s work, Solskjaer was keen to manage the workload of his star man for the visit of the Toffees.
Once United dropped two points after a disappointing 1-1 draw, though, the decision not to include the five-time Ballon d’Or winner from the start was always going to be questioned.
The 36-year-old did come on after 57 minutes. However, he couldn’t help the Red Devils clinch all three points as Andros Townsend scored for Everton to cancel out Anthony Martial’s first-half opener.
Ronaldo’s frustration at the result was clear to see at the final whistle as he stormed down the tunnel at Old Trafford. In the aftermath of the result, fans speculated that things might well have been different had the Portuguese superstar been involved throughout.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s reaction to being benched against Everton
A source at United has now confirmed that Ronaldo was far from happy with Solskjaer’s team selection for the match – and has even informed his manager that he will let him know in future if he wants to be rested.
Speaking to The Sun, the source revealed: “Ronaldo was extremely disappointed for being benched.
“Ole presumed that he was tired after the Villarreal game, so he decided to only put him on early in the second half.
“But Cristiano told him that he will tell him when he isn’t fit to play and that he wants to play in every single league game.
“He also told him that he has come here to win trophies and that United need to play their most important players in all of the games.”
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At Friday’s pre-match press conference for United’s trip to Leicester this weekend, Solskjaer attempted to downplay any suggestion of tension between himself and Ronaldo over the situation.
“I spoke to him before the [Everton] game, spoke to him after the game and he was ready to come on when he was called upon,” explained Solskjaer.
“Unfortunately, when we don’t win Cristiano is not happy and that’s a mindset you want from every player. That’s absolutely no problem whatsoever.”
Ronaldo “cannot play every game” – Solskjaer
Despite Ronaldo’s reported insistence on starting every Premier League game for United, Solskjaer told members of the media that he feels it is unrealistic for the former Real Madrid and Juventus man to maintain such a schedule.
“We all want to see Cristiano because he’s unique. But the plain fact of it is he cannot play every game, that’s just physical nature.”
The hugely differing views between player and manager on Ronaldo’s playing time indicate that this isn’t the last we’ve heard on this issue.
Most players couldn’t simply demand to automatically feature in every one of their team’s games if fit, but then most players aren’t Cristiano Ronaldo.
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