Erik ten Hag has hit out at the actions of the unsettled Portuguese superstar
New Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag appears to have drawn a line in the sand when it comes to Cristiano Ronaldo's recent behavior at the Premier League team, after he described Ronaldo's decision to leave Old Trafford before the conclusion of last weekend's friendly match against Rayo Vallecano as 'unacceptable'.
The future of the five-time Ballon d'Or winner has been one of this summer's most interesting subplots after Ronaldo requested that the club allow him to leave during the transfer window, with his desire to play Champions League football thought to be the impetus.
Ronaldo, who had skipped much of Man United's preseason training, played 45 minutes in last Sunday's friendly against the Spanish side and was later seen leaving Old Trafford before the game's conclusion, as was his Portuguese compatriot Diogo Dalot.
And speaking with Dutch media, Ten Hag confirmed that Ronaldo's reasoning for missing preseason training sessions was permitted by the club due to a family issue - but that he didn't approve Ronaldo, or any other player, leaving the stadium early last weekend.
"Certainly not. This is unacceptable. For everyone," said Ten Hag, who added that "there were many more" who did the same.
"I tell them - that is is unacceptable and that we are a team, a squad; that you have to stay until the end."
It remains to be see if Ronaldo will be considered for selection for United's Premier League opener against Brighton on Sunday - though on the surface at least, it seems unlikely given that he has played just 45 minutes of football since the end of last season.
As for whether the Portuguese - who turns 38 during the upcoming season - will get the transfer he has been agitating for, this too remains a mystery. Publicly United have stated that he is central to their plans but privately it is unlikely that the club would object if a serious offer was received by another club.
His options remains narrow, however. Various clubs like Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, and most recently Atletico Madrid have ruled out a move - with Ronaldo's gargantuan wages estimated to be as much as Pound 500,000 per week ($607,000) thought to be a considerable stumbling block.
Talks to clear the air between both parties are likely needed if the ever-developing cold war between Ronaldo and the club at which he remains listed as a legend is to be avoided.
But, judging by his recent comments at least, Erik ten Hag is showing little appetite to bend to the whims of one of the world's most footballers.