Former Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane thinks Erik ten Hag should have handled Cristiano Ronaldo differently as a "great player".
United and Ronaldo confirmed on Tuesday night that the 37-year-old’s contract had been terminated.
The Portugal international had a deal that would have run until the end of the current season, with the option of an additional year.
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He had arrived at Old Trafford for a second spell at the club after leaving Juventus in 2021, and finished last season as top scorer.
However, Ronaldo was disappointed with the club’s failure to secure Champions League football for the current season, which is understood to have meant a 25% pay cut. He also missed much of pre-season.
As a result, Ten Hag did not automatically make Ronaldo a first team pick and the forward refused to come on as a substitute late on in a victory against Tottenham, according to the Dutch coach, which prompted another brief spell on the sidelines.
Ahead of the break for the mid-season World Cup, Ronaldo gave an interview to Talk TV and said he was dissatisfied by the treatment he had experienced at United, and said he did not respect Ten Hag.
The player is now free to find a new club, and speaking on ITV, his former United team-mate Keane thinks Ronaldo’s abilities should have afforded him more flexibility.
"I don't think it's been great management,” he began. “I think it's been a difficult situation but I don't think the manager comes out of it well. People always praise the manager saying 'you've put a marker down'. Part of management is looking after the top players.
"You do have to treat top world-class players differently. This idea that you treat everyone the same... you don't.
"I go back to it. A guy that scores goals for fun. That can't be right [that he leaves]. I don't want to go down the road again talking about players pressing. Whatever system he was going to play, obviously Ronaldo didn't come back to do that. He came back because he is a great player who can score you goals and get on the end of things.
"This summer when the manager came in everyone knew he [Ronaldo] wasn't going to be a part [of his plans].
On Ronaldo's departure, Keane continued: "It's better for everybody. It's better for the club obviously. You don't want that dragging into the second half of the season. Ronaldo has obviously raun out of patience. He knew he wasn't going to be a regular.
"Is his reputation at United tarnished? Far from it. Ronaldo is one of the greatest players. It's not ended well but that's life.”
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