Erik ten Hag can use Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit saga to his advantage says, Roy Keane 

Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay of Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay of Manchester United - IMAGO / PA Images

Former Manchester United player Roy Keane believes new manager Erik ten Hag can use the situation of Cristiano Ronaldo to show his long-term authority over the Premier League club.

Ronaldo wants to leave Old Trafford this summer but has so far been held against his wish by the United hierarchy who insists he is not for sale this summer. Manager Ten Hag has also publicly stated that the 37-year-old remains part of his plans for the coming season. However, the Portuguese have played just 45 minutes of pre-season football for the Red Devils.

But former United skipper Keane believes that ten Hag can use the Ronaldo saga to his advantage, in the future. According to Keane, the way the Dutchman handles the situation will be crucial in asserting his dominance in his first season in charge at Old Trafford.

Speaking on Sky Sports, Keane said: “We don’t know about Ronaldo’s behaviour like now in terms of when he’s back in the building.

“Missing pre-season for family issues. If that’s the case, then so be it. If he has downed tools, then that is unacceptable.

“But I don’t think it’s such a big deal as everyone’s making out. Ultimately, when you’re a manager, you don’t go looking for trouble, trouble comes your way. So this has come to the manager, it’s in front of him. He’s got to deal with it.

“But I think he can put a marker on it, say it’s Ronaldo in the next week or two and if he’s got takers and the deal works for United, you might want some money back. But if you go to Lisbon, then off you go.

“Then the other players are looking going “OK, short-term we’ll miss him, but in the bigger picture, we’re trying to rebuild”.

“Man United really aren’t going to be competing for league titles for two or three years.”

With Anthony Martial injured, Ronaldo could be in line for a starting position in ten Hag’s opening Premier League fixture at home to Brighton.