After being reduced to a mere bit-part squad member, Cristiano Ronaldo – so often the figurehead of the clubs he&aposs played for – decided he wanted to show he only plays on his terms.
He called in Piers Morgan to help construct his exit in November and unfurl his powerplay. “I don&apost have respect for him [Ten Hag] because he doesn&apost show respect for me. If you don&apost have respect for me, I&aposm never gonna have respect for you, he said during the now-infamous interview.
He also added: I still believe I can score many, many goals and I can help the team, because I still believe I&aposm good enough to help the national team and even Manchester United.
United agreed to a contract termination and the superstar was benched for both of Portugals knockout games in what was his final World Cup. His move to Saudi side Al-Nassr, confirmed on Friday evening, was the full stop on a saga that proved Ten Hag&aposs judgement was correct.
Part of Ronaldos gripe had been his suspension after walking down the tunnel before full-time against Tottenham. He later apologised to his teammates but revealed to Morgan he felt his exile was too long: They suspended me for three days, which I felt was a lot.
Upon the release of the first clips of the bombshell interview, Ronaldo received swathes of criticism. However, laced within some of the comments was the theory that Ten Hag had used the 37-year-olds stature as a pawn to bolster his own status.
He [Ronaldo] feels like he is being a little bit used in a way, like he is the black sheep, the one to throw the stick at, said Jermaine Jenas, who otherwise was critical of Ronaldo.
I do feel like at times with Ten Hag, it enabled him to elevate his position at the football club when he treats Cristiano Ronaldo in a certain way. It enables him to get the dressing room to fall in line.
Jenas was just one of a handful of pundits who suggested this. But Ten Hag busted that myth when he dropped Marcus Rashford for Saturdays clash with Wolves, within 16 hours of Ronaldos move to the Middle East being announced.
The attacker was relegated to the bench due to an internal disciplinary issue – and apologised in the best way possible by scoring against Wolves. He later revealed it was because if had overslept and missed a team meeting.
Rashford is Uniteds top scorer with 11 goals this season and has been in imperious form for both club and country.
He has been the Reds&apos most potent threat going forward, but Ten Hag did not hesitate to deal out the appropriate reprimand when the England World Cup star stepped out of line, accidentally or not.
It shows the idea that he punished Ronaldo too severely was far-fetched at best. Besides, the Dutchman had shown his disciplinarian mindset in pre-season.
Bruno Fernandes admitted that Alejandro Garnacho did not have the best attitude during the summer tour and perhaps that explains why the youngster did not get onto the pitch during the trip.
Ahead of the new season, Ten Hag also insisted he would not give Donny van de Beek special treatment, despite their previous Ajax connections – the midfielder has only started three matches this term.
The point is, the United boss has stayed consistent during his short reign and there has been no unjust favouritism or hostility, a notion that he put to bed within a day of Ronaldo vindicating his management efforts.
He is not afraid to force this week&aposs cock of the walk to eat the scraps if they so deserve it, no matter who they are – he is the boss.
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