"No one wanted him in the transfer window" - Cristiano Ronaldo urged to stay at Manchester United by Gary Neville despite 'reduced game time'

Neville is probably the first Manchester United great to talk about Ronaldo
Neville is probably the first Manchester United great to talk about Ronaldo's downfall

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has urged Cristiano Ronaldo to stay at the club despite a marked reduction in his game time.

The Portuguese talisman was keen to leave the club this summer in search of Champions League football. However, multiple sides, including Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Chelsea, turned down the opportunity to sign him.

Cristiano Ronaldo eventually stayed put at Manchester United but has seen his game time take a hit. He has so far started just one Premier League encounter under Erik ten Hag and all four of their Europa League encounters.

In all, the former Real Madrid star has played 619 minutes of football this season across 11 appearances and has scored just twice.

Stressing that the 37-year-old should come to terms with the fact that he cannot be a regular starter at this age, Neville told The Mirror:

“What I would hope is that, like with any other player coming towards the end of his career, he'll accept that he won't play every single game and he'll stay and become a massive contributor like he was on Sunday night [in a 2-1 win over Everton] and United will have a good season.
"If Ronaldo stays I do think they have a far better chance of being a top-four team, even if he doesn't play every week and he comes off the bench like he did against Everton."

He also credited Manchester United and Ten Hag for handling the Cristiano Ronaldo situation well enough to avoid any major controversy.

“But I suspect his mentality, his psyche is such that he can't not play. He feels it's an insult and people I respect enormously in the game think he's being disrespected by being on the bench, but I don't see that at all.
"I think Erik ten Hag has come out of this really well. For me, I hope he can somehow think, 'Where am I going to play where the fans love me as much, where there are still trophies on the table? We can achieve stuff.'
"Where is he going to play in Europe? In the summer, no one wanted him in the transfer window. I think United have played it pretty well, this one.”

What next for Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United

Manchester United are set to face Newcastle United next in the Premier League on Sunday, October 16. They are currently fifth in the table with 15 points from eight matches, nine points off league leaders Arsenal with a game in hand.

Cristiano Ronaldo is not expected to start against the Magpies at Old Trafford but could be brought on as a second-half substitute. With questions still hovering over Anthony Martial's availability, Marcus Rashford could lead the attacking line.

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Edited by Sankalp Srivastava