Athletistic/ Football. Eric ten Hag made unpopular decisions early in the season and, after two early round defeats, sent a number of last season’s key players back to reserve. Including Ronaldo.

Throughout the summer, fans watched the performance played by Cristiano Ronaldo and his agent. The Portuguese missed most of the pre-season, citing family circumstances. Along with this, rumors were actively circulating in the press that Ronaldo had no intention of staying at Manchester United as he wanted to play for a club participating in the Champions League. Bayern, Chelsea and Atlético Madrid refused to sign the 37-year-old striker. Jorge Mendes tried to find other options, but everything fell through. Ronaldo had no choice but to return to training.

Along with this, Eric ten Hag, who managed Manchester United, brushed off questions about Ronaldo and stubbornly insisted that he needed a player, that he would fit into the team and that he wouldn’t let him go anywhere.

In the first round, Cristiano Ronaldo came on, in this match Manchester United lost to Brighton, but the Portuguese’s early exit coincided with a major defeat for Brentford – 0:4. According to insiders, ten Hag was furious and added loads to the players in training. Ronaldo, in turn, was reportedly unhappy with the coach’s demands.

In the third round, ten Hag sent captain Maguire, Shaw, Fred and Cristiano Ronaldo into reserve ahead of an important game with Liverpool. Manchester United won and did it absolutely for business. Ten Hag showed the Merseysiders both pressure and counterattacks. Ronaldo only entered the pitch in the 86th minute. Nothing changed in the following matches. Ten Hag released Ronaldo only as a substitute and in almost every game the striker was out for less than half an hour. The trend is clear.

Of course, there were also questions about Ronaldo. The coach noted that the 37-year-old’s physical condition no longer met the requirements due to missed pre-season training, and also hinted at tactical reasons.

The problems are known. Eric ten Hag relies on energy-intensive style, pressing and active possession of the ball. Ronaldo is no longer stylistically suited to this football. Cristiano is an excellent finisher, but his time is running out slowly. Perhaps, somewhere due to his age he is not so good at pressing and more often saves energy for jerks in the penalty area, and because of the selfish way of reaching the ball in any incomprehensible situation, it can violate the structure of possession.

Eric ten Hag has yet to solve this dilemma, but for now it seems that the specialist has carte blanche and the full support of management. And Ronaldo is nearing the end of his career.

Yahya Gasanov, Athletistic