Graeme Souness believes Erik ten Hag is showing Cristiano Ronaldo ‘disrespect’ by leaving him on the bench for Manchester United.
The Portugal international was an unused substitute in the 6-3 defeat to Manchester City on Sunday, with Ten Hag claiming he opted not to introduce him out of respect for his career.
“I didn’t bring him on out of respect for his big career,” the Dutchman said at post-match. “And the other thing, there was then the advantage I could bring Antony Martial on. He needs the minutes but I don’t want to point it out like that.”
Ronaldo made it clear he wanted to leave the club in the summer but United remained firm and insisted he would not be sold.
Souness believes they should have allowed him to leave if Ten Hag isn’t going to play him as they are now showing arguably the greatest player in history great “disrespect”.
He said on talkSPORT: “Ronaldo has an argument, he can sit with any group of players in the history of the game, if they’re still alive, he can sit in any room with any of them and say ‘I think I’m the best player ever’ he has an argument for that.
“The disrespect they’re showing him now, I don’t see the point in going through the aggravation which they have done making him stay to not use him.
“It’s disrespectful not to use him. I don’t buy that [it’s disrespectful to play him], I think you’re showing more disrespect by not using them.”
Souness’ thoughts were echoed by Roy Keane, who said: “The manager held on to him. OK, he said he wanted options. But you don’t hold on to Ronaldo to sit on the bench.
“He is one of the greatest players ever. He had options [to move in the summer]. This idea he didn’t have options is rubbish. He had four or five good options.
“The big picture is that he [Ten Hag] is not going to play Ronaldo. It is just going to get uglier as the season goes on. United have shown nothing but disrespect to Ronaldo.”