Sport News Cristiano Ronaldo bench for Manchester United causes fierce debate among pundits
The pair, who work for UK television channel Sky Sports, have argued over whether Ronaldo should be given an automatic place in the starting XI because of the accolades he has received throughout his career.
Ronaldo was only hired just past the hour mark at Stamford Bridge, with interim coach Michael Carrick – possibly under instructions from new interim head coach Ralf Rangnick – opting to pitch Marcus Rashford instead, Jadon Sancho and Bruno Fernandes in attack.
“Why is Carrick trying to give him [Ronaldo] a high-five [as he walks down the tunnel], I don’t know, “said former United captain Keane.” Let him go down the tunnel, there is nothing wrong with a player being upset. Ronaldo has not returned to Manchester United to sit on the bench. What purpose?
“He’s a world-class player. His stats since coming back to the club are good, he’s got goals and assists. This idea that he’s going to start shutting down people – he’s not. Sometimes, you have to work around a superstar.
“I have played with players who do not do what you expect – the [Eric] Cantonas of this world – but you forgive them because they score the winning goals in close matches. Ronaldo has to be in the starting XI. “
Carragher doesn’t expect Rangnick to keep Ronaldo on the bench when he takes over, but the former Liverpool defender has said that “the idea that Ronaldo has to start every game and play every minute of every game, I don’t think that’s the right one.
“Going into the big games, I can understand why Michael Carrick never pitched him against Chelsea,” Carragher added.
“Now Ronaldo isn’t the player he was. It’s always obvious for Man United in terms of goals, but I don’t think it should be a big story if Ronaldo doesn’t start every game or, sometimes, comes out in a football game. “
The debate around including Ronaldo in the starting XI will inevitably continue, with Rangnick preferring his teams to press intensely high on the pitch, something Ronaldo has not been instructed to do for several seasons.
Ronaldo’s goals since returning to Old Trafford have been a rare light in an otherwise lackluster season for United so far, but Rangnick’s most difficult task may be to find a way out for the rest of the team to run around him.