Cristiano Ronaldo should be shown the door at Manchester United, according to the star’s former club-mate Gary Neville.
Speculation has mounted over Ronaldo’s future in recent months, with the 37-year-old seemingly wanting out of Old Trafford in search of Champions League football.
He has featured in only 45 minutes of United’s pre-season, starting in a 1-1 draw against Rayo Vallecano last weekend. He was taken off at half-time and left the ground before the match had finished, which manager Erik ten Hag branded as “unacceptable”.
Ex-Ajax boss Ten Hag has previously stated Ronaldo is part of his plans heading into his first campaign as United manager, but Neville – who believed the former Real Madrid and Juventus forward would transform his old club into Premier League title contenders when he re-joined last year – thinks the time is right to cut ties.
He said on Sky Sports’ The Overlap: “Ronaldo will go down in the top players of all time, and what happens this summer at Manchester United will be forgotten about in 20 years, but as an ex-Manchester United captain and senior player, it’s unpalatable and unfeasible to see the star player in the dressing room playing up.
“You cannot have your star player running the shop.
“I know fans want Ronaldo to stay, but if he wants to leave, Manchester United should facilitate that.”
Neville’s fellow pundit Jamie Carragher, meanwhile, said he felt this type of situation was inevitable.
The former Liverpool defender said: “I always felt this situation would come, even if Ronaldo did great for a year, he signed a two-year deal with an option of another year which I couldn’t believe, because he’s never going to play second fiddle to anyone.
“Ronaldo turns 38 this season, he’s a great goalscorer but he’s not the same player.
“No other club in Europe wants him and I’m not sure Ten Hag wants him either, and I’m not quite sure the dressing room want him now either.”
Ronaldo scored 18 league goals last season, yet those strikes were not enough to help United finish higher than sixth place with their lowest ever Premier League points tally (58).
United start their Premier League campaign at home against Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday.