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Ex-England legend blames Cristiano Ronaldo for Harry Maguire pile on after ‘power struggles’

The five time Ballon D’or winner has been singled out by one ex-England man

Former England defender and current Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher has hit out at Cristiano Ronaldo for helping to incite the Harry Maguire pile-on in recent seasons, claiming that it all really began when the Portuguese striker arrived back at Old Trafford.

Maguire has endured a torrid 12 months, starting just eight Premier League games last season and seeing his value plummet. The 30-year-old was stripped of the United captaincy over the summer and scored an own goal in his most recent outing for England, where his every touch was ironically cheered by the Scottish crowd at Hampden Park.

The defender has revealed that he is fine dealing with the ‘banter’ from the home fans, but plenty have lept to his defence including his mother, who took to social media to slam the ‘disgraceful’ abuse which went “far beyond” football.

Now, Carragher has pointed much of the blame at Cristiano Ronaldo, who spent 18 months with Maguire at Old Trafford before having his contract terminated following an unapproved interview with Piers Morgan.

Writing in the Telegraph, the former Liverpool and England defender took aim at the veteran for helping undermine Maguire’s leadership at Old Trafford, revealing that Ronaldo’s return was when ‘the undermining of Maguire gained momentum’ and that ‘when powerful characters want to impose authority they do not have you either stand up to it or wilt.’

In the case of Maguire, the latter clearly appears closer to reality, with Carragher adding that he felt sorry for the 30-year-old who he views as ‘easy prey’ because he is not the character ‘to get furious and start to strike back’, in turn allowing more pressure and abuse to pile on.

Having opted to stay at Manchester United over the summer, the road back for Maguire at club level looks a long one, and while he continues to be sidelined his every appearance will be scrutinised.

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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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