CRISTIANO RONALDO is in danger of becoming an “unwelcome distraction” at Manchester United, according to Wayne Rooney.
That was despite his recent row with boss Erik ten Hag after his walkout against Tottenham and his much-publicised failure to secure a summer exit.
And Rooney, who has named what he believes should be England’s starting XI at the World Cup, insisted that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has to knuckle down and accept that he is no longer a certain starter under Ten Hag.
He told talkSPORT: “Him and Messi are arguably the two best players of all-time and you can go either way with that, whatever way you decide.
“But I just think the things he has done from the start of season, it is not acceptable for Manchester United.
“I’ve seen Roy Keane defending him. Roy wouldn’t accept that. Roy wouldn’t accept that at all.
“It is a distraction which Manchester United don’t need at the minute, trying to rebuild. For Cristiano, just get your head down and work and be ready to play when the manager needs you.
“If he does that, he will be an asset. If he doesn’t, it will become an unwanted distraction.”
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Keane recently defended Ronaldo after he was axed by Ten Hag after refusing to go on as sub against Tottenham.
He said: “Well, obviously the manager has made a decision to leave him out.
“He’s disappointed at Ronaldo [for] not wanting to go on in the 87th [or] 88th minute and the fact he walked down the tunnel. He’s obviously being punished for it.
“But I try to see as well from the player’s point of view, he’s obviously had enough and I think it’s been brewing over the last few weeks with Ronaldo.
“But I will still try and defend him, I still think he’s a human being, he’s got flaws, he feels frustrated that he’s not been properly getting opportunities and he’s had enough.
“He’s walked down the tunnel, I think players have done a lot worse things at Man Utd. I think it happens, it’s human nature.
“Everyone was talking after the game that they beat Spurs, it was a big win – best performance in years. Absolute rubbish, Spurs were terrible. Man Utd managed to beat Spurs as well last year at home when I think Ronaldo got a hat-trick.
“So he’s more than capable of getting on that pitch and making a difference. But he has to take his punishment, is there a way back for him? I’m not sure.
“I’d be more worried if Ronaldo was sitting on the bench every week laughing his head off and not caring. I think the guy cares.
“I’ve said it before, this game is full of bluffers and he’s certainly not one of them. I think he cares about the club, I think he wants to play, he needs to play. World class player, people saying he’s not the player he was 10 years ago. Of course he’s not.
“But he was the leading goalscorer last year for Man Utd. He went to Man Utd last year, to a bad Man Utd team – really bad team – [and] he was still leading goalscorer.”