Portugal’s coach Fernando Santos criticises Solskjaer for Ronaldo management

Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal against France
Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal against France

Portugal coach Fernando Santos has indirectly criticised Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for his management of Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portuguese whose side beat Qatar in a friendly yesterday has said that Ronaldo ‘needs playing time’ at Manchester United

His comments come just days after Sir Alex Ferguson also claimed that ‘you should always start your best player’ in reference to Solskjaer’s handling or Ronaldo in United’s draw with Everton in the Premier League.  

Ronaldo came off the bench in United’s draw against Everton before the international break. He lasted 33 minutes on the pitch and could not help Manchester United pick up three points against an impressive Everton.

He returned to Portugal to feature for Santo’s side in their win against Qatar-a game where he scored his 112th international goal for Portugal. He will also be in the side that will face Luxembourg in a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.

Speaking before the Qatar game (as reported in Daily Mail), Santos suggested that, since he didn’t start for United against Everton, Ronaldo is likely to be involved against Qatar. 

“He (Ronaldo) will go to the game (against Qatar) because he needs playing time. It’s important to him at this stage” the coach said.

“The last full game he played was in the Champions League (against Villarreal on September 29).

“If he only plays against Luxembourg, he will have practically 15 days without playing with intensity.

“At this point, I will say that there are strong possibilities of Ronaldo going to the game against Qatar, either starting or coming on later during the second half so that the competitive rhythms are at their maximum against Luxembourg.’ 

Santo’s is not the first person to criticize Solskjaer after he named Ronaldo amongst the substitutes against Everton.

Reacting to his decision to bench Ronaldo, former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was heard saying ‘you should always start with your best player’ while talking to UFC fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov at Old Trafford.

Since his return to United, Ronaldo has played the full 90 minutes against Newcastle, West Ham and Aston Villa in the Premier League, while he was also involved in United’s Champions League game against Villarreal.

It is thought that Solskjaer benched the 36-year-old for the Everton bench in order to keep him fresh and fit.

Ronaldo has scored five goals in six appearances this season for Man United.