Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has rejected the notion that Cristiano Ronaldo needs to accept being a bit-part player after failing to secure a move away from Old Trafford.
Ronaldo attempted a move away from Old Trafford after requesting a transfer but failed to find a suitor to satisfy his desire for Champions League football and challenge for trophies before the window closes on Thursday.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who is under contract at Manchester United for another year, was used off the bench in a 26-minute cameo in United’s 1-0 win at Leicester City on Thursday. Ronaldo has only started once in the Premier League this season, coming off the bench four times.
The 37-year-old missed Manchester United’s pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia due to personal reasons and Ten Hag suggested that his replacement role is more about regaining match fitness than falling down the pecking order, and that he could make the starting XI. in the coming weeks.
“It’s really early in the season,” Ten Hag said. “We have a squad, more than 11 starting XI players. This is what you see now.
“The players who are on the bench now can play in one, two or three weeks.
“We raise a team, they stick together, they fight for each other, they work together. Now we have to move on.”
Ronaldo is yet to score for Manchester United but scored 24 goals in 38 games in all competitions last season, including a team-high 18 goals in the Premier League.
The Portuguese icon has been linked with Chelsea, Atletico Madrid, Sporting CP, Napoli and Bayern Munich in recent weeks, but nothing has come to fruition.