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“Nobody will talk about him” | Graeme Souness issues scathing criticism of Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag

Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent temporary banishment from first-team training at the behest of Erik ten Hag was met with hards from the iconic former Liverpool midfielder

Former Liverpool great Graeme Souness has weighed in on the continuing issue involving Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo and Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag. And the three-time European Cup-winning Red knows what side he falls on.

When speaking on talkSPORT, Souness did not hold back in his criticism of Ten Hag in comparison to Ronaldo and the footprint the Portuguese icon has left on the footballing landscape.

“In five years, Ten Hag will be away from the club and body will talk about him and his spell at Manchester United ever again, but Ronaldo will always be remembered as arguably the greatest to have ever kicked a football.”

While Souness is no doubt correct in his overall assessment of Ronaldo’s career and the gravity that which the all-time leading scorer in European club football has affected all facets of the beautiful game, the Scottish pundit has seemingly decided to side with the theory that player gravitas makes them exempt from certain rules and or punishments if standards are not upheld.

Ronaldo recently refused to come on as a substitute during United’s 2-0 home win against Premier League rivals Tottenham as the Portuguese were once again left out of the starting XI, but it was not the first time that the 37-year-old has has his behavior at the club called into question.

Ten Hag, who previously remarked that any further infractions would be dealt with accordingly, can certainly be held to account as a man of his word after he suspended Ronaldo from first-team training and banished him to the U21 set up to be put through his paces.

Ronaldo since returned to the squad in the wake of the 1-1 draw against Chelsea at the weekend and will be included in the matchday squad that clashes with FC Sheriff tomorrow night, but for Souness – and many others – there are clearly certain players that transcend the very sport itself and possibly should be dealt with differently on the back of their reputation on and off the pitch.

No matter what side of the discussion you fall on, what is clear at Old Trafford is that United now has a manager that is not afraid to stand in the face of player ego and wishes to instill a certain set of standards that are meant to be followed.

A similar framework was brought into the fold at Arsenal under Mikel Arteta, which eventually saw relations with former club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang go into a death spiral that ultimately led to the Gabonese star being sold to Barcelona during the January transfer window.

Given the fact that Arteta has come out on the right side of history, United supporters will be banking on the same narrative surrounding Ten Hag’s reign at the Theatre of Dreams.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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