Former Manchester United defender Patrice Evra has sympathy with Cristiano Ronaldo’s frustrations but has praised the fairness of new boss Erik ten Hag and insisted the “right solution” between the pair will be found.
United are currently in Spain preparing for Thursday night’s Europa League clash with Real Sociedad, where top spot in Group E is up for grabs.
Ronaldo is set to lead the line again after doing the same in last weekend’s 1-0 win over West Ham. However, the 37-year-old has hit the headlines in recent months for issues off the pitch.
He was dropped from the squad to face Chelsea for refusing to come on. And storming down the tunnel towards the end of the victory against Tottenham in October in the latest clash between the Portuguese great and his manager.
“I just think Ten Hag is really fair,” Evra told the PA news agency from the Web Summit in Lisbon.
“With this manager, I feel like you can see he thinks ‘I will not fail’. He refuses to fail. I don’t even know if he sleeps at night because I can feel his determination.
“I think this saga with Cristiano Ronaldo and Ten Hag, I asked Ten Hag to please stop answering when people ask you about Cristiano because people don’t know what is happening behind the scenes.
“People forget Cristiano is a human, even if I call him a lion because of how many goals he scores. But he has emotions and feelings.
“I never judge someone when they have what they say is the wrong attitude. And that is what people have to do. We are really fast to judge on what? Oh ‘he did this so we have to punish him’ but what about the why?
“What I think is Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player on earth. And Ten Hag is a manager who wants Manchester United to perform and win trophies.
“They both have their reasons and I know they will find the best solution. Either to work together or maybe one leaves because at the end I am only focused on United and the most important thing is United, not Ronaldo or Ten Hag.”
Ronaldo clearly missing Champions League football
Evra acknowledged his old team-mate and five-time Ballon d’Or winner is struggling with his lack of game-time coupled with the fact he is no longer competing in the Champions League like old rival Lionel Messi.
The former United defender admitted a January move for Ronaldo, who has three goals in 14 appearances this season, could work best for all parties.
Five-time Premier League winner Evra added: “If one player wants to leave, you shouldn’t keep him. I don’t know if now he wants to leave or not. But when we talk like that, it is not easy if he has to keep being benched.
“He is a human being so why does he have to care about his legacy and say, ‘I need to stay because of my legacy’. Cristiano Ronaldo’s legacy will never die.
“I know Graeme Souness says people will remember Ronaldo and won’t remember Ten Hag. Maybe they will remember Ten Hag because he will have a career like (Sir Alex) Ferguson, but it is difficult and I don’t think Cristiano is doing all this because of his legacy.
“He doesn’t care about his legacy. Cristiano cares about scoring goals and being the best scorer in the Champions League. Because that is his goal from before the season started.
Evra refusing to get carried away
While the entrepreneur and the founder of ‘I Love This Game’ brand feels United are going in the right direction under Dutchman Ten Hag, he knows more bumps lie ahead.
“Let’s not be too much carried away,” Evra insisted.
“I did the game with Tottenham and spoke with Ten Hag. I really give him so much credit. Because I saw a team bleeding for the fans, for the badge and that doesn’t want to give up.
“For the first time I saw against Tottenham we controlled the game from the first minute to the last minute. It was the most complete game for United so of course we are going in the right direction but I think there will still be ups and downs.”
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