Roy Keane has defended Cristiano Ronaldo after his contract was ripped up by Manchester United and insisted the Portugal star should not be a fringe player.
The 37-year-old is now a free agent after both parties agreed to mutually terminate his contract at Old Trafford. It comes just days after an explosive interview with Piers Morgan where he criticised United, the Glazers and Erik ten Hag.
Ronaldo has been sidelined for much of the season under the Dutch coach, who has utilised forwards more willing to press than the Portuguese superstar. But Keane agrees with his former United team-mate, insisting that Ronaldo should never be a fringe player.
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Speaking to ITV Sport, Keane said: "I think it was on the cards for the last few months, the interview was the tipping point for him. But that’s it, life goes on, Manchester United are a great club, Cristiano Ronaldo is a great player.
"It was like a divorce, end of a relationship, I know how that feels, you go your separate ways, life goes on, great player for Man United probably should’ve left in the club in the summer but whether that’s the players fault or the club’s, it was never going to happen.
"The new manager was never going to play him, you can’t have Ronaldo as a sub or a fringe player, it’s just not right, it’s just not right, it’s sad but these things happen."
It remains to be seen where Ronaldo will end up after strenuous links to Chelsea, Sporting Lisbon and Inter Miami. However, it will give United the clean break that they would have hoped for after an interview that forced them into making a decision.
With the Premier League set to return on Boxing Day, it means that the Red Devils can avoid a media circus surrounding Ronaldo if he were to remain at the club.
Nevertheless, Ten Hag will no doubt have to answer questions on his relationship with the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.
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