Erik ten Hag confirms Cristiano Ronaldo refused to play against Tottenham Hotspur

Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag has confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo refused to come on as a substitute in Wednesday’s Premier League clash with Tottenham Hotspur.
The 37-year-old dropped out of the starting XI for the match at Old Trafford, with Marcus Rashford preferred through the middle.

Ronaldo headed down the tunnel before the end of his side’s 2-0 victory, and it is believed that he had also departed the stadium before the final whistle had been blown.

A later report claimed that the Portugal international had actually refused to enter as a late substitute rather than Ten Hag deciding not to use him.

The Dutchman responded “yes” when asked during his press conference on Friday afternoon whether Ronaldo had refused to be involved against Antonio Conte’s side.

The experienced forward has been dropped from the squad for Saturday’s clash with Chelsea and has been training away from the first-team squad since the incident occurred.

“What’s the talk if you ask about that is between Cristiano and me. I think the statement is also clear,” said Ten Hag when asked what happened when he spoke to the Portuguese.

The Dutchman then insisted that Ronaldo remains an “important part of the squad” amid suggestions that the former Sporting Lisbon has played his final match for the club.

“Yes. That’s also in the statement. He remains an important part of the squad,” he added.

There was a similar situation during a pre-season clash with Rayo Vallecano back in July, with Ronaldo deciding to leave the stadium before the friendly had finished, following his withdrawal at the break.

“How we did. I’m the manager. I’m responsible for the culture and I have to set standards and values, and I have to control them. We are in a team and in a team we have standards and values, and we have to control it. So after Rayo Vallecano I said it was not acceptable, but he was not the only one,” said the manager.

“That was for everyone. So when it’s the second time, that will have consequences, and that is what we did. So we miss him tomorrow and that is a miss for us and the squad.

“It’s a miss, but I think it’s important for the attitude for the mentality for the group, and now we have to focus on Chelsea and that is the most important [thing].”

“I think it will have a reflection, for him, but also for everyone else. I set a warning at the start of the season, and the next time it has to be consequence, otherwise when you are living together, when you are playing together – and football is a team sport – you have to fulfil certain standards. And I have to control it.

“I understand, there are questions about that. But at the same time it’s about Chelsea. We have a big game to play, so all my focus is on that game, all the focus from the staff is on that game and all the focus from the players is on that game.

“We have to win that game, and we have to do everything we can, so we need full concentration to prepare for that game and to play our best.”

Ronaldo, who only has a contract at Old Trafford until next June, released a statement on Thursday night after it emerged that he would not be involved against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

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