THE time really has come for Manchester United to rip up Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract and show him the door.
His actions in walking out on the Red Devils’ best performance under Erik Ten Hag is unforgivable.
Once again in a desperate moment of theatrics, he turned the attention on himself in United’s 2-0 victory over Tottenham and, to be fair, he got it.
Not that Ten Hag seemed bothered: “I don’t pay attention to that, we want to focus on this team, it was a magnificent performance from all 11 players.
“Tonight we celebrate the result and the rest we deal with on Thursday.”
Indeed Ronaldo as a player is becoming an irrelevance for him, has been for some time.
He has paid him respect in refusing to point to the fact that the player’s powers are now dramatically on the wane.
So much so that for the first time since he was a teenager the 37-year-old no longer demands a first team place in a football team.
Even in Portugal, their football media are questioning whether he should start next month’s World Cup.
Still, he craves the attention.
Which is why in the final minute of normal time, he hot-footed it down the tunnel at Old Trafford, realising he was not being brought into the action, and soon after Cristiano had left the building.
It was such a shameful sign of disrespect to his teammates.
He remains the biggest name at the club which is why he should have been on that pitch, full of smiles, congratulating his teammates.
They had produced an awesome display in beating high-flying Spurs, which had Old Trafford buzzing like it has not done for some time.
Proof that the wins over Arsenal and Liverpool at the famous old ground this season had not just been one-offs when the team had managed to raise itself for the big occasion.
Get something at Stamford Bridge on Saturday in the 5.30pm kick-off against Chelsea to follow it up and people really will start to sit up and take notice.
But unfortunately, the Ronaldo sideshow can still become the main show, even without him touching a ball.
After similar petulance in pre-season United should have done something there and then.
In the final warm-up game against Rayo Vallecano, Ronaldo was hooked at half-time and left ten minutes before the end of the game.
This after having what appeared to be a very public difference of views with his manager during a break in play in the first period.
Still United decided to keep him, while his agent tried to force a move.
Ten Hag wanted the matter resolved but it wasn’t.
Now a brooding presence will return to Carrington this week, a place that should be bouncing, like Old Trafford was.
Indeed the Ronaldo strop had little resonance with his teammates who celebrated on the pitch and in the dressing room without a second thought for what had happened.
This is a new team, with an exciting influx of new players and rejuvenated ones who had lost their way.
Witness how Ten Hag turned Fred around from Sunday to Wednesday night.
The new boss says everything publicly to continue to respect Ronaldo the legend even though the signs are there that he no longer warrants a place in a top team.
It is just a shame that the same respect is not replicated.
Ten Hag can see the future, Ronaldo is in the past.
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