Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has removed striker Cristiano Ronaldo from his squad to face Chelsea on Saturday as a penalty for his early exit during the win over Tottenham Hotspur.
Ten Hag made the decision after Ronaldo left Old Trafford before the end of the 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday.
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS and more (US)
Ronaldo did not train with the first team on Thursday and does not expect to return to the group until Monday.
Sources told ESPN that the club endorsed the action by Ten Hag but insisted the 37-year-old remains an “important part of the team”.
“Cristiano will not be part of Manchester United’s squad for Saturday’s match against Chelsea. The rest of the squad is fully focused on preparing for that match,” a club statement issued on Thursday read.
Ronaldo left his seat on the bench to walk into the tunnel before the full-time whistle against Tottenham, although two more substitutions were available for Ten Hag.
Sources confirmed to ESPN that the striker refused to come when Ten Hag brought in Christian Eriksen and Anthony Ilanga in the 87th minute. United declined to comment on those reports.
Sources also told ESPN that Ronaldo left the field and was not in the dressing room when Tin Hag and the players returned.
Ronaldo reported to Manchester United’s Carrington training ground at around 10:30 a.m. on Thursday.
He held talks with Ten Hag before the Dutchman decided to remove him from his squad to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
This is the second time Ten Hag has reprimanded Ronaldo for leaving a game early.
The United boss described his behavior as “unacceptable” after he was photographed leaving Old Trafford before the end of a pre-season friendly match against Rayo Vallecano in July. Ronaldo started the match but was substituted at half-time.
Ronaldo was also caught shaking his head after Ten Hag decided to substitute him during the second half of Sunday’s goalless draw with Newcastle.
The Portugal international is keen to leave the club after starting just two matches in the Premier League. He has scored twice in 12 games so far this season, including his 700th career goal in a 2-1 win over Everton earlier this month.