Gary Neville has called on Cristiano Ronaldo to speak publicly about his future at Manchester United, believing the “messy” situation has caused an unwanted distraction for new manager Erik ten Hag heading into the new season.
Ronaldo has asked to leave United and only has 45 minutes of match action under his belt from pre-season after family reasons kept him away from the club’s summer tour.
Ten Hag has confirmed Anthony Martial is out of Sunday’s visit of Brighton through injury but refused to reveal if Ronaldo will start in his place. The 37-year-old and Marcus Rashford are the only direct striker replacements for Martial, unless Ten Hag opts for a false nine as he experimented with in pre-season.
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Ronaldo reportedly wants to leave United in order to play for a club competing in next season’s Champions League, but Neville maintains the Portuguese should clarify his position to supporters at a time when the club are seeking some much-needed stability.
Speaking on Friday Night Football, Neville said: “The Ronaldo situation is distracting. You saw Ten Hag in the press conference on Friday having to answer questions about it.
“The fact Anthony Martial has got injured and he is the only other centre forward, and he actually was going to leave the club six months ago.
“The fact they haven’t got Frenkie de Jong in, the fact you haven’t been supported in the way the other managers have and getting the signings early, I think it all means it’s a more difficult job for Ten Hag than it already was.”