Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer has said that while Cristiano Ronaldo’s behavior against Tottenham was inexcusable, it is important to look at the situation from the player’s point of view.
In the 2-0 win against the North London club, Ronaldo stormed down the tunnel with minutes left on the clock.
Later, Erik ten Hag confirmed that Ronaldo refused to come on as a substitute, and as a result, the player was banished from training with the first team and was axed from the matchday squad.
United ended up drawing that game 1-1 after a last-mute equaliser from Casemiro.
Once again, despite United digging in deep and mustering a much-deserved goal in the dying embers of the game through Casemiro, it was Ronaldo and his absence that dominated headlines.
The main personality spearheading the Ronaldo agenda yesterday was Roy Keane. The former United captain launched a spirited defence of his former teammate on Sky Sports, even going as far as attacking the players and the manager in what was frankly an embarrassing rant.
According to Shearer, the reason behind Ronaldo’s awful antics is that he is struggling to come to terms with his waning powers and the fact that he is no longer the main man for his team.
Shearer wrote for The Athletic, “I understand Ronaldo’s anger and frustration because being the best is all he’s known. He’s been the main man, the focal point, the trophy-laden superstar, one of the best players in the world, if not the best.”
“Now for the first time in his career, he has a manager telling him he’s no longer integral, that he can’t do something, instead of looking to him to make the impossible seem routine.”
“I get that his conduct looks bad — and it is bad — but the context in Ronaldo’s case is how unprecedented it must feel to be normal. How strange it must seem to be on the same planet as everybody else when you hold yourself to the highest standards of performance. When you’re a force of nature and your force is blocked.”
Shearer also relayed that Ronaldo will be undoubtedly frustrated by the fact that he cannot nail down a starting spot with his club ahead of the Qatar World Cup.
He will be Portugal’s main man in the tournament, for what is likely to be his last World Cup for his country.
On why Ten Hag seems to not fancy Ronaldo, Shearer attributes this to the five-time Ballon d’Or’ winner’s inability to press aggressively and execute his defensive duties.
Shearer finished by comparing the sunset of his career to that of Ronaldo – when he at times found it hard to accept he was no longer the dynamic and powerful star he used to be.
The 52-year-old also praised Ten Hag for his handling of the Ronaldo situation which has enhanced his authority within the club and among his players.