Graeme Souness has leapt to the defence of Cristiano Ronaldo as the pundit has blamed Man Utd and Erik ten Hag for him being “deeply frustrated”.
Even for Souness’ standards, his new column for The Daily Mail is a whole other level of nonsense.
The Liverpool legend has joined Ronaldo’s club of fanboys in defending the 37-year-old after his antics on Wednesday night.
The forward refused to come on as a substitute against Tottenham as Man Utd ran out 2-0 winners at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo subsequently got left the dugout and marched down the tunnel on his own a few minutes before the final whistle.
Ten Hag has moved quickly to punish the forward, who will not be considered for selection this weekend. He also trained away from the first-team on Thursday.
It is pretty conclusive that Ronaldo is the one in the wrong in this situation, but Souness has gone against the grain with his take on the midweek drama.
The 70-year-old has sensationally suggested that Ronaldo is “plainly angry, upset and deeply frustrated” and is “entirely United‘s making”.
“It’s a desperately sad situation that Cristiano Ronaldo finds himself in. Here is a player who has taken Manchester United to the heights and scored goals for them which will live long in the memory — yet look what that club have reduced him to,” Souness wrote for The Daily Mail.
“What we saw at Old Trafford when the team played Tottenham on Wednesday night was a player plainly angry, upset and deeply frustrated — stuck on a substitutes’ bench while players he will rightly consider himself superior to were out on the field.
“For a player as hugely competitive as him, that will have been agony. An experience he will never have imagined himself facing. I have to say that I can understand how he feels.
“This is a situation entirely of United’s making. A problem they just didn’t need to create. Erik ten Hag has made some bold and courageous decisions, trying to instil discipline and unity.
“But how did he think this situation with Ronaldo was going to work?
“How did he think the player was going to respond to being asked to sit on a bench, run up the touchline doing warm-ups, only to remain redundant and unused, with the cameras trained on his every facial expression?
“People should only be talking about that performance against Tottenham but instead it is this. Ten Hag and United have shot themselves in the foot and not helped themselves one bit.”
Souness went onto suggest that “United will end up destroying Ronaldo’s legacy” if the supposed poor treatment of him continued.
“I think it is incumbent on United to do better by him. To go to whatever lengths necessary not to humiliate the man in such a way,” Souness continued.
“He will certainly feel he is not being shown any respect, in what is without doubt the worst period of his career. He is being tested in a way he would never have expected, at the twilight of his playing days.
“He seemed to reflect that in the statement he put out on Thursday night. These seemed to be the words of a man genuinely taking responsibility for his actions, rather than running from them. He was in at 8.30am to train with the Under 21s on Friday.
“But if the current situation persists and he is put through more of these indignities on the substitutes’ bench, his behaviour could continue to be off.
“And that could lead to what I think will be the worst outcome of all this: that United’s supporters will remember him for what’s happening during the rest of this season, or at least for as long as he is kept in Manchester, rather than those golden years and brilliant goals.
“If this continues, United will end up destroying Ronaldo’s legacy. The least the club owe him is not to allow that to happen. To stop putting him through this.”
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