Manchester United legend Gary Neville believes the club should find a way to offload wantaway forward Cristiano Ronaldo this summer.
The player-turned-pundit also weighed in on United’s transfer activity, describing it as an ‘embarrassment’, whilst sidekick Jamie Carragher claims Erik ten Hag and the entire Man United dressing have had enough of Ronaldo.
The Portuguese star told the club that he wished to depart this summer following the Red Devils’ underwhelming showing last season, resulting in the club missing out on Champions League qualification.
Ronaldo returned late from an extended summer break and during his first taste of pre-season action he left the stadium prematurely, to the annoyance of Ten Hag who described the act as ‘unacceptable’.
Neville believes the Ronaldo saga is an unwelcome distraction for Ten Hag and United should find a way to move the five-time Ballon d’Or winner on.
“Ronaldo’s achievements in football go beyond anything anyone could ever wish for,” Neville said on The Overlap.
“He’ll go down in the top players of all time and always will be and what happens this summer at Manchester United will be forgotten about in 20 years,” former captain Neville told The Overlap about his old teammate.
“But it’s unpalatable for me to watch the next Manchester United captain, the next Manchester United senior player and thinking that at this moment in time the star player in the dressing room is playing up.”
Neville continued: “You can’t have your star player in a club running the shop. You cannot have it. So when Sir Alex Ferguson in the past moved players on, its because he was needed to be moved on.
“I know Manchester United fans want Ronaldo to stay but if Ronaldo wants to leave, Manchester United, in my mind, should facilitate that.”
Jamie Carragher took a different angle on the saga, claiming that whilst Ronaldo is still a great goalscorer, the 37-year-old is no longer the same player and thinks that both Ten Hag and the rest of the dressing room want him out the door.
“I always felt it was a bizarre signing,” said the former Liverpool defender.
“I always felt this situation would come even if Ronaldo did great for a year. He signed a two-year deal plus another year, which I couldn’t believe.
“He’s never going to play second fiddle to anyone but, as players, at a certain stage of your career we all know that you’re not the same player and his has gone on longer because he’s such a great professional.
“But the fact is that now, he’s 37, 38 this season, and he’s not the same player. He’s still a great goalscorer, but he’s not the same player. No other club in Europe at this moment wants him. I could be wrong but it doesn’t look like United can get him out.
“I think if you asked Ten Hag, I don’t think he wants him, I’m not sure the dressing room at Manchester United wants Cristiano Ronaldo right now.”
Manchester United have endured a frustrating summer despite landing Lisandro Martinez form Ajax, Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord and Christian Eriksen on a free transfer.
Much of the summer has been consumed by the long-running pursuit of Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong – much like last year’s tiresome swoop for Jadon Sancho – but, as yet, United have failed to convince him to make the switch, with Chelsea now in the mix to swoop for Dutchman.
When quizzed on the club’s transfer strategy Neville said: “The old failings seem to be there in terms of not being able to get anything over the line.
“I’m a little bit worried at the reliance upon the Dutch market because it tells me the club’s strategy and recruitment wouldn’t have been looking at Dutch players if it wasn’t for the manager who’s come in; he’s Dutch, he knows them.
“I think every Manchester United fan is a little bit tired. I said it about Sancho and it’s the same with De Jong. It gets to the point where a signing that should be an excitement for the club, it drags on that long that in the end you lose excitement for the signing.
“It almost becomes a little bit of an embarrassment and it’s still happening.
“So I’m really concerned about the fact that they can’t get signings over the line still.”
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