Later News Aug 03

Ten Hag criticises Cristiano Ronaldo for leaving pre-season friendly at half-time


And so, the battle of wills at Manchester United has begun.

 

In one corner, we have the upstart contender, Erik ten Hag – a 52-year-old Dutchman whose greatest managerial achievement to date has been to win the Dutch Eredivisie title three times, as well as the glorious Bangkok Century Cup.

 

WATCH: Ten Hag's final season at Ajax

 

In the other corner, we have the reigning ‘king’ of Old Trafford, Cristiano Ronaldo – a player who has won almost everything there is to win in world football, the only worthy rival of Lionel Messi, revered by millions worldwide, and with a neck the size of an average man’s thigh.

 

And it appears that the first blood in this battle to establish themselves as the alpha at United has been drawn by Ten Hag.

 

Speaking to Dutch media outlets, Ten Hag publicly chastised Ronaldo for leaving United’s recent pre-season friendly against Rayo Vallecano – a game in which the Portugal international was involved in – at half-time, instead of staying on for the entire duration of the game.

 

Earlier reports in the media had indicated that Ronaldo was given the green light to do so by Ten Hag, but it appears that this was not the case, as the new United head coach said: “He (Ronaldo) was not the only one who left after half-time, but I tell them (the players) that it's unacceptable. That we are a team, and that you need to stay right until the very end.”

 

WATCH: Ten Hag insists Ronaldo is in his plans for the coming season

 

Ten Hag’s comments are unlikely to go down well with Ronaldo, who is widely-known to have an ego the size of Barcelona’s debt.

 

At the very least, it will only further drive Ronaldo’s determination to leave his beloved United this summer, although finding a suitable club to take him has thus far proven to be more difficult than trying to get Harry Maguire to successfully complete a line-breaking pass.

 

Ronaldo did not join United in their pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia as he was busy offering himself to other clubs dealing with a family issue, and only returned to training last week.

 

WATCH: Ten Hag on Ronaldo's absence from United's pre-season

 

He is unlikely to feature in United’s first game of the season against Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday, with Ten Hag insisting that the former Real Madrid star is not at full fitness just yet, even though Ronaldo has posted pictures of his defined abs on social media.

 

“He is not on the level of the rest of the squad because he missed a lot of weeks,” Ten Hag had said. “But he needs games and he needs training, a lot.”

 

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