Rio Ferdinand has responded to Gary Neville’s criticism of Cristiano Ronaldo following Manchester United’s draw with Everton.
After being benched for Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Old Trafford, Ronaldo failed to make an impact after coming on as a 57th-minute substitute as Andros Townsend cancelled out Anthony Martial’s first-half opener to earn the Toffees a point.
Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo was visibly frustrated when the full-time whistle was blown and stormed down the tunnel alone while muttering to himself.
Neville was disappointed by Ronaldo’s reaction and said it put ‘real pressure’ on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who later defended his decision to bench the Portugal legend.
Speaking on his Sky Sports podcast, Neville said: ‘I watched the game and I watched him walk off. I can’t say I like it.
‘Is Cristiano upset when he doesn’t play? Yes. If he upset when he doesn’t score? Yes. Is Cristiano annoyed as hell when the team doesn’t win? Of course. We know these things, he doesn’t need to prove that.
‘He walked off the pitch muttering to himself which in some ways throws the questions up in the air. “What’s he saying? Who’s he annoyed with?” And it can only come back to the manager.
‘So I do think actions like that – Ronaldo is smart enough to know – will bring real pressure, more pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.’
But Ferdinand has once again defended Ronaldo’s reaction and says you ‘can’t take emotion away’ from players.
‘I saw Gary Neville talking about Cristiano Ronaldo and saying he needs to be told about trudging off like he did,’ Ferdinand told the FIVE YouTube channel.
‘But it’s almost like saying we want to take away emotion, take away natural emotion. We [former Man United players] would walked off and been screaming our heads off loads of times.’
‘I think Ronaldo’s experienced enough to be able to say, “my body’s not feeling great, leave me out of this one.”
‘Players like that are capable of being able to come to you because they know they’re body better than anyone else.
‘Ronaldo’s frustration tells you he was ready to start, that’s where it comes from. Ole wanted to freshen up the team but it’s always a risk.’
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