No respect’ – Graeme Souness suggests Erik ten Hag has ‘mistreated’ Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United

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Graeme Souness has launched a staunch defence of Cristiano Ronaldo following the attacker’s comments about Manchester United on Sunday.

The 37-year-old said he felt “betrayed” by the club and revealed Ten Hag had lost his respect because “he doesn’t show respect for me”. The Reds boss had exiled Ronaldo for the 1-1 draw with Chelsea last month after he refusing to come on against Tottenham days earlier.

Ronaldo was welcomed back for the following 3-0 win over FC Sheriff, scoring his third goal of the season in the clash. Then a week last Sunday, he was chosen to captain the side in the 3-1 loss to Aston Villa.

The Portugal skipper has played 16 times this season, starting 10 of them. But he is clearly unhappy about his game time and Souness believes he has grounds for his disgruntlement.

He suggested that the “bridges are burnt” but that Ten Hag has “mistreated” Ronaldo, whom he refused to bring on in the 6-3 drubbing to Manchester City in October in “respect of his career”.

Speaking on talkSPORT, Souness referenced the conversation the pair would have had prior to his reintroduction to the team, speculating that promises from that chat may have been broken. “I certainly do [defend Ronaldo],” he said.

“The meeting, two people speak, two people leave the room with an understanding and someone has not kept his word. He’s never spoken [out], he feels it’s time for him to come out for his side of the story.”

He added: “I just think he’s [Ten Hag] messed him around, I believe – this is only my opinion as a manager who managed for 20 years – I’m looking at the situation, it has to be that the manager has not gone through with the promises he’s made when they met. For him to say that is strong stuff. No respect.

“From the outside, I think the player has a grievance and I think he’s entitled to his grievance. Although we don’t know the full story, I choose to believe Ronaldo has been mistreated here. That’s my take on it.

“I think someone’s told him a tale and not kept their word, simple as that… Logic doesn’t apply in the professional world of football, sometimes a lot of that doesn’t either [common sense].”

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