Revealed: Man Utd's latest insult to Cristiano Ronaldo
Prior to Thursday’s Europa League match against Omonia Nicosia, Ronaldo has only one goal for the season has been reduced to the role of a peripheral player in Erik ten Hag’s side. This is underlined by the fact that he is set to start in Europe after being left on the bench throughout Sunday’s 6-3 Manchester derby loss.
Ten Hag claimed that move was out of “respect” for what Ronaldo has achieved in his career, yet this same respect is not evident given the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has not been included in Man Utd’s four-man ‘leadership group’.
The Portugal international star not only boasts an unrivalled collection of trophies – both personal and team – compared to his Manchester United team-mates, but he is widely regarded to be one of the greatest professionals to have played the game, boasting an unrivalled with ethic and desire to improve.
From this perspective, the 37-year-old would have been a natural in any group dictating the direction of the squad.
Who is in Man Utd's leadership group?
And yet, among the four players trusted to unite the dressing room by Ten Hag, there is no sign of Ronaldo, according to a report from The Telegraph.
Bruno Fernandes, though, has made the cut into this important quartet, while the only other starter to be in the group of four is goalkeeper David de Gea, whose form has come under question this season.
Harry Maguire’s level has been so poor over the last 12 months he now finds himself a regular on the bench alongside Ronaldo, but he is also in the leadership group ahead of the Portuguese, while the final member is veteran goalkeeper Tom Heaton, whose influence is said to be particularly important.