Why is Cristiano Ronaldo not in the Manchester United squad? Team news for Chelsea clash

Ronaldo returned to Manchester United in 2021
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Erik ten Hag says Cristiano Ronaldo has to accept the consequences and potential backlash for the “bad behaviour” that means the Manchester United star sits out the trip to Chelsea.

The Red Devils beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 on Wednesday (19 October) night, in one of the best all-round performances since the Dutchman arrived at Old Trafford in the summer. However the post-match talk has been dominated by Ronaldo’s early exit.

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He will not feature in the squad for Manchester United’s trip to Chelsea on Saturday (22 October) evening. The Premier League game will kick-off at 5.30pm. But why is Ronaldo not going to feature?

Why is Ronaldo not in the Manchester United squad?

The 37-year-old headed down the tunnel before the clock had struck 90 minutes on Wednesday during Manchester United’s 2-0 win over Antonio Conte’s Spurs. Ronaldo made a hasty departure from Old Trafford, leading Ten Hag to stand the forward down for Saturday’s match at Chelsea.

The frontman admitted on Instagram that “sometimes the heat of the moment gets the best of us” and the United boss confirmed at his pre-match press conference that the Portuguese refused to come on as a substitute.

Ronaldo was also among those that left Old Trafford early in July’s pre-season friendly against Rayo Vallecano, leading Ten Hag to underline the importance of players staying to support their team-mates.

What has Ten Hag said about the incident?

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“It is a difficult decision, it’s clear,” Ten Hag said. “But I think there has to be consequences for behaviour or when it’s bad behaviour and it’s the second time, then you can’t let it go because otherwise it is going to be miserable for the future.

“Then you have to take this measure which I don’t like it because I prefer the squad with Cristiano on board. It’s not about (showing who is in charge). It’s about the club. I have to take decisions in the interests of the club and the team especially. That’s my job.

“It doesn’t matter who it is, reputation or age. Also with my line-up, I have to pick the team where I think we have the best chance to win.”

Rio Ferdinand has defended Cristiano Ronaldo’s actions on Wednesday. Credit: Getty.Rio Ferdinand has defended Cristiano Ronaldo’s actions on Wednesday. Credit: Getty.
Rio Ferdinand has defended Cristiano Ronaldo’s actions on Wednesday. Credit: Getty.

When will Ronaldo be involved in the squad again?

Ronaldo may be back involved when United host Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League on Thursday (27 October), when the reaction from the stands is likely to be less positive than usual.

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The 37-year-old is revered by the Old Trafford faithful after his outstanding first spell at the club but his latest histrionics are unlikely to have gone down well.

Put to Ten Hag that a harsh reaction could welcome Ronaldo on his return, the Dutchman said: “I think (his popularity) is justified because he achieved a lot in his career. I don’t have maybe to mention but it is so brilliant.

“But also he has to be aware you always get justified by the moment for how you are acting today. Especially I think in top sport it is about today — it is not about age, it not about reputation.

“You always when you do top sport, you get justified, you get judged by the moment and (how) you act. That’s normal. We have to be aware of it – everyone, not just Cristiano, has to be aware of it as a team, as a manager, as a club.”

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Ronaldo trained with fitness coaches on Friday as the rest of the group prepared for the trip to Chelsea and Ten Hag said they will talk before he returns to the group.

Is there any other team news for Manchester United vs Chelsea?

Conor Gallagher is expected to shake off illness in time for Chelsea’s Premier League clash with Manchester United on Saturday.

Gallagher was withdrawn during Wednesday’s goalless draw at Brentford after feeling unwell, but has made a steady recovery since.

N’Golo Kante, Reece James and Wesley Fofana are longer-term absentees for the hosts.

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Cristiano Ronaldo will not feature for Manchester United at Stamford Bridge. Fellow forward Anthony Martial remains absent with a back complaint. Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Brandon Williams have been training this week after injury.

Chelsea provisional squad: Arrizabalaga, Mendy, Silva, Chalobah, Koulibaly, Azpilicueta, Cucurella, Chilwell, Jorginho, Kovacic, Loftus-Cheek, Zakaria, Chukwuemeka, Gallagher, Sterling, Havertz, Mount, Aubameyang, Broja, Pulisic, Ziyech.

Manchester United provisional squad: De Gea, Heaton, Dubravka, Dalot, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Martinez, Varane, Maguire, Malacia, Shaw, Fred, Casemiro, Eriksen, McTominay, Mainoo, Fernandes, Iqbal, Pellistri, Elanga, Garnacho, Antony, Sancho, Ronaldo, Rashford.

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