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Just days after Manchester United confirmed they had 'no issue' with Cristiano Ronaldo leaving their pre-season game against Rayo Vallecano early, manager Erik ten Hag has labelled the decision as "unacceptable."
In an interview with Dutch outlet Viaplay Sport Nederland, Ten Hag was asked to give his thoughts on Sunday's incident at Old Trafford.
Not even waited for the final whistle 😮💨 pic.twitter.com/jraOWdoPd5— Gaz (@CantonaManc) July 31, 2022
After being the only player to be brought off at half-time during their final pre-season game of the season, Ronaldo was spotted leaving Old Trafford before the full-time whistle.
It was a moment that sparked plenty of debate but after initially refusing to comment on the situation, Manchester United said they had 'no issue' with the 37-year-old leaving early.
They also confirmed to The Daily Mail that he was one of a number of players to leave Old Trafford while the game was still being played.
Here's how the conversaton with Viaplay Sport Nederland played out:
Interviewer: "At the beginning of the conversation, we talked about how important it is for you to have players arrive on time and your attention to details. But Cristiano seems to arrive and leave whenever he wants, how do you manage that?"
Ten Hag: "He was allowed to leave because of private reasons with his family, so what you are saying is absolutely not true."
Interviewer: "But against Rayo, he left the game during the break."
Ten Hag: "There were many more players who left."
Interviewer: "So you think that's OK? Let is pass?"
Ten Hag: "Definitely not."
Interviewer: "So, how do you handle that?"
Ten Hag: "I certainly don't condone this. This is unacceptable. For everyone. We are a team and you have to stay until the end."
🗣️ — Erik ten Hag on Ronaldo and others leaving the game before full-time:— United Journal (@theutdjournal) August 3, 2022
“I certainly don't condone this. This is unacceptable. For everyone. We are a team and you have to stay until the end.” #mufc #mujournal
[@ADnl via @viaplaysportnl] pic.twitter.com/cyvAonIQrZ
Fans and former players would have their say on the matter in the coming days, including talkSPORT guest Jamie O'Hara.
"He’s one of the greatest players ever but he’s still got to be a part of a squad and a part of a team," the former Spurs midfielder said. "If he’s been dragged at half-time and left, that’s not good. You can’t do that as a player."
Former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy also commented on the situation, saying: "You can’t have a player doing that, it sets a horrendous example."
Erik ten Hag on Cristiano Ronaldo and other Man Utd players leaving Old Trafford early vs Rayo: “I don’t certainly accept this. I think this is unacceptable. For everyone”, tells @viaplaysportnl. 🚨🔴 #MUFC— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 3, 2022
“We are a team and you have to stay until the end”, ten Hag says. pic.twitter.com/Ysm2G4e7Rp
As both teams went for a drinks break in the 33rd minute, United boss Erik ten Hag appeared to try and give the forward some tactical advice.
But judging by the below footage, Ronaldo responded by defending himself with his arms outstretched. The Express even suggest he was seen 'rolling his eyes' during the 'tense' interaction.
Thoughts on the situation?
Let us know in the comments.
Featured Image Credit: @viaplaysportnl/Twitter
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