Cristiano Ronaldo was told by Andrea Pirlo in 2021 that he can be subbed off in games

  • Rob Swan

Cristiano Ronaldo caused a bit of a scene on Wednesday night after being substituted by Ralf Rangnick in Manchester United’s 3-1 win away at Brentford.

The legendary Portuguese forward was visibly unhappy after he was replaced for defender Harry Maguire with 20 minutes left on the clock.

United were 2-0 up at the time and Ronaldo hadn’t managed to get himself on the scoresheet. Anthony Elanga and Mason Greenwood netted early in the second half for the visitors at the Brentford Community Stadium and Rangnick saw this as a perfect opportunity to give his star player a breather.

However, Ronaldo’s reaction said it all. He was desperate to stay on and add to his goals tally.

The peeved Portuguese star was filmed saying: “Why did he take me off?”

Rangnick was then seen having a quiet word with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.

“I told him [Ronaldo] we were 2-0 up and we have to learn lessons from Villa Park,” United’s interim manager told reporters after the match. “After that game, I was angry with myself for not changing to a back five.

“Today was exactly the same situation and I did not want to make the same mistake again. I said: ‘Listen Cristiano, you are 36 and in great shape, but when you are a head coach, you will see it through the glasses of a head coach.’

“My job is to take the decisions in the best interest of the team and the club and I hope he sees it the same way.”


This isn’t the first time that Ronaldo has reacted badly to being substituted during his illustrious career.

In fact, it’s not even the first time in the past 12 months that something similar has happened.


Andrea Pirlo told Cristiano Ronaldo he can be subbed off

Just last season, in February 2021, Andrea Pirlo was forced to remind Ronaldo that he isn’t immune to being substituted.

Ronaldo had scored two goals for Juventus in a Coppa Italia semi-final match against Inter Milan and was clearly eager to complete his hat-trick in order to add another match ball to his collection.

But Pirlo decided it was in the team’s best interests, as well as the player’s, for Ronaldo to be subbed off with 13 minutes remaining.

Ronaldo shook his head and looked thoroughly unimpressed as he left the pitch. He was then seen having words with Pirlo on the touchline.

Pirlo, who was sacked as Juve boss several months later, reminded Ronaldo that he had no divine right to play 90 minutes every match.

“There is no contract clause that says he can’t be subbed off,” Pirlo told reporters.

“He knows he is a fundamental player for us but to get his breath back, he must always be at the top.”


Ronaldo turns 37 in a few weeks’ time and it’s safe to assume that his admirable desire to play every minute of every game will never leave him.


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Ronaldo clashes with Rangnick (Football Terrace)

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