Roy Keane unhappy with ‘disrespect’ Manchester United show to Cristiano Ronaldo

Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo was an unused substitute against Manchester City (Getty Images)
Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo was an unused substitute against Manchester City (Getty Images)

Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane has accused the club of “showing disrespect” to Cristiano Ronaldo by leaving him sitting on the substitutes’ bench.

The 37-year-old Portuguese superstar, who has started just one Premier League game this season, did not make it onto the pitch during Sunday’s 6-3 derby drubbing at Manchester City with manager Erik ten Hag later revealing he did not use him as a mark of respect.

However, Keane, who played alongside Ronaldo during his first spell at Old Trafford, insists the reverse is true and that the club would have been better off allowing him to leave during the summer just a year after his sensational return.

Speaking after the game, the Irishman told Sky Sports: “I think Man United are just showing disrespect to Ronaldo. I think he should have been let go before the transfer window.

“I think the manager is holding on to him. Okay, you say you need options, but you don’t hold on to Ronaldo to sit on the bench. He’s one of the greatest players ever.

“He had options. This idea that he had no options is rubbish; he did have options, four or five very good options.

“Okay, today the manager brought [Anthony] Martial on and he scored two, so yeah, that’s justified, but generally speaking: The bigger picture, he’s not going to play Ronaldo, we know that. He’s played in one or two European games.

“It’s just going to get uglier as the season goes on. Okay, Ronaldo’s motivated with the World Cup coming up, but if he’s sitting on the bench week in, week out, it’s not good. It’s just going to get ugly.

“I think United have shown nothing but disrespect to Ronaldo. They should have let him go when the opportunity came. As I said, he did have options to go, I know that for a fact, and holding on to him to sit on the bench, I think, is ridiculous for a player of his stature.”

Keane’s comments came as he surveyed the wreckage of a defeat he described as “hugely embarrassing”.

Hat-tricks from Erling Haaland and Phil Foden saw the reigning Premier League champions, who led 4-0 at the break, cruise to victory at the Etihad Stadium.