Cristiano Ronaldo showed ‘unacceptable’ behavior by leaving as Manchester United were putting the finishing touches on their victory over Tottenham, according to Gary Lineker.
The great Portuguese, who was an unused substitute for Wednesday night’s game at Old Trafford, walked along the touchline and down the tunnel before regular time.
According to The Athletic, Ronaldo continued and immediately left the stadium instead of celebrating with teammates after what was arguably the team’s best performance of the season.
United have been superb, taking their sixth Premier League win of the season and finishing fifth in the table, thriving without having to turn to the 37-year-old Ronaldo.
In this match, Ronaldo scored a hat-trick last season, but this week he was a substitute in United’s 2-0 win, only to leave the club early to draw attention back to himself.
United manager Eric ten Hag said he would “sort it out” on Thursday.
Former Tottenham and Barcelona striker Lineker suggested on the BBC’s Match of the Day that Ronaldo had crossed a line.
Cristiano Ronaldo: Now we all know what a great player he was and stuff like that, but to leave the field as a substitute with two minutes left in the game, sorry, but this is unacceptable. It’s poor, isn’t it? Lineker said.
Solid team work. Let’s try to develop this. pic.twitter.com/uy4ygeLm1U
— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) October 19, 2022
Pundit Micah Richards, a former Manchester City defender, agrees that Ronaldo is not fine.
“It’s so poor,” Richards said. “For someone we’ve looked up to for so long, one of the greatest players, to do this when your team is winning, to do this because of him, is unacceptable.”
United were superb in front of their home fans, landing 28 shots against nine Tottenham, with goals coming from Fred in the 47th minute and Bruno Fernandes in the 69th. Their defense was also impressively solid, allowing Tottenham to only score 0.48 of the expected goals.
Speaking to Amazon Prime after the contest, Ten Hag said dealing with Ronaldo was a problem for another day.
“I will deal with [Ronaldo] tomorrow, not today,” he said. “Today we are celebrating this victory and now we need to recover from it.”
Ten Hag said in a subsequent press conference that he chose Marcus Rashford over Ronaldo because of the English striker’s assertive qualities.
“What we needed was good pressing, you need good counter-pressing because from there you can create chances,” said Ten Hag.
“In attack you need dynamics and that’s what Markus can give you in the game.”