ROY KEANE has slammed Manchester United for "disrespecting" Cristiano Ronaldo after he was left on the bench throughout the 6-3 defeat to Manchester City on Sunday.
The Red Devils were thrashed by the Premier League champions at the Etihad as Phil Foden and Erling Haaland both scored hat-tricks in a one-sided mauling.
Ronaldo started the match on the bench for the fifth league match in a row.
And he did not even see any game time in the closing stages – one of just four substitutes Erik ten Hag chose not to use.
It is a move Man Utd icon Keane sees as inexcusable given Ronaldo's status as a legend of the game.
Speaking on Sky Sports, he said: "I think Man United are showing disrespect to Ronaldo. I think he should have been let go before the [closing] of the window.
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"Okay, you're the manager, you need options but you don't hold onto Ronaldo to sit on the bench. He's one of the greatest players ever.
"He's played him in one or two European games. It's just going to get uglier as the season goes on.
"If he's sitting on the bench for United, week in, week out it's just going to get uglier. I think United have shown nothing but disrespect to Ronaldo.
"They should have let him go when the opportunity came. He did have options, I know that for a fact.
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'But to hold onto Ronaldo to sit on the bench, I think is ridiculous for a player of his stature."
He then added: "So what if you're 4-0 down. You look at his goal record, as good a chance of anyone of putting it in the back of the net.
"People are obsessed with the pressing side of the game. You put the balls in the right areas, he'll score goals."
Ten Hag opted to bring Anthony Martial on instead of Ronaldo for the final half an hour with the score at 4-1.
And the Frenchman did bag two late goals to add some level of respectability to proceedings, albeit when the result had already been decided.
When asked about bringing on Martial instead of Ronaldo, Ten Hag insisted he did it "out of respect" for the Portuguese superstar's career.
He then added: "The other thing was the advantage I could bring Martial, he needs the minutes but I don't want to point it out like that."
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Ronaldo, who was heavily linked with a move away from Old Trafford in the summer, has scored just one goal in eight appearances so far this season.
Following United's two defeats at the start of the campaign, Ten Hag has gone with Marcus Rashford as the central striker, with Ronaldo's only two starts coming in the Europa League.
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