Cristiano Ronaldo’s second season at Manchester United will not go to plan.
The 37-year-old, who left Wednesday’s game against Tottenham early, has sought to explain his actions after leaving the club for their upcoming game against Chelsea.
Ronaldo was an unused substitute in Wednesday’s win and was seen walking down the tunnel with minutes to play.
After the match, manager Erik ten Hag said he would “move on” with Ronaldo and the club later announced he would not be involved in the next English Premier League tie. On Friday, ten Hag told reporters that Ronaldo refused to come.
The Portuguese star addressed his behavior in an Instagram post on Thursday, but stopped short of apologizing.
“As I have always done throughout my career, I try to live and play with respect for my teammates, my opponents and my coaches,” he wrote.
“That has not changed. I haven’t changed. I am the same person and professional as I have been playing elite football for the past 20 years, and respect has always been a big part of my decision-making process.
“I started very young, the examples of older and more experienced players were always very important to me.
“That’s why, later on, I’ve always tried to be an example to the young people who grew up in all the teams I represent. Unfortunately, that is not always possible and sometimes the warmth of the moment gets the best of us.”
Ronaldo’s relationship with the club began to sour when he tried to push through a transfer earlier this season.
As a result, he missed pre-season and has seen his playing time under ten Hags mainly limited to appearances off the bench.
In truth, his performances have not secured a regular opening spot.
In eight appearances so far this season – six of which have come from the bench – Ronaldo has scored just one goal.
It seems that the striker is not satisfied with his new role at the club and his relationship with the new regime has been obvious.
Ronaldo was delighted to be substituted after 72 minutes of United’s 0-0 draw with Newcastle last week, with the ten Hag saying the decision was made to keep the forwards fresh ahead of a busy game.
On Friday, ten Hag said Ronaldo could still play an important part in the team’s season.
“Right now, I feel that I have to keep working hard at Carrington, support my teammates and be ready for everything in any game,” added Ronaldo.
“Give in to the pressure is not an option. It never was. This is Manchester United, and we must stand together. Soon we will be together again.’