Cristiano Ronaldo was understood to be livid at Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after being dropped for this weekend’s clash with Everton.
And that now creates a problem when it comes to handling the 36-year-old in the future. He has to be dropped at times – but he certainly won’t like it when that happens.
Manchester United had been expected to start Ronaldo against Everton on Saturday.
However, the Red Devils then decided to leave the forward on the bench instead.
Express Sport understands Ronaldo was livid with the decision to leave him out, especially after scoring the winner against Villarreal mere days previously.
He wanted to play. He felt he deserved to play.
But, instead, Solskjaer believed it was the right time to rest his prized asset.
Speaking before the game, he defended his decision by saying: “Well Wednesday night was a big effort, a big emotional and physical output.
“So we needed to freshen it up. When it’s an early kick off the start of this game is going to be important and we’ve got some very good players coming on as well.
“It’s a team we think is going to take charge of the game.”
And he doubled down afterwards, too, insisting he had ‘no regrets’ about leaving Ronaldo out of his starting XI.
“No,” he said when asked if he’d change his decision in hindsight.
“You make decisions throughout a long, long season; you have to manage the players’ workload and the decision for me was the correct one.
“Anthony Martial did well, scored a good goal.
“Edinson [Cavani] needed minutes and could have had a goal. We have to make those decisions at the time.”
But, now, United have another problem.
The more they risk angering Ronaldo, the worst things may be. After all, vex the Portugal international at your peril.
At Real Madrid, when he fell out with Jose Mourinho, there was only ever going to be one winner: and it wasn’t the manager.
It was a similar story with Rafa Benitez, too.
And, at Juventus, the Old Lady were always going to side with Ronaldo – their lavish asset – rather than Andrea Pirlo or Maurizio Sarri.
Now, United will also need to watch how they use Ronaldo.
Dropping him for this match made no sense with the international break on the horizon. If he’s tired for his country, that isn’t Solskjaer’s problem.
United will now have to find a time to give Ronaldo a breather that suits both them and the player himself.
Fail to do so, and Solskjaer will see more scrutiny over his position than ever before.
Former United star Rio Ferdinand, meanwhile, felt Ronaldo was in a furious mood after the draw with Everton.
“He [Ronaldo] stomped down the tunnel, disappointed about the result and we’ve all been there,” said the BT Sport pundit after the match.
“I think it’ll be a mixture of things, he’s a man in form having scored five in five, he wanted to continue that vein of form and shoot his side to victory. I understand the frustrations and it comes out like that.
“A club like Manchester United, with the depth they have in their squad, should be able to get the job done.
“You have to remember the players that were missing in this Everton team today: neither of their strikers played today, it’s probably the weakest they’ve been for a while and you’d expect to go and beat them.
“Nine games without a clean sheet is a poor record for Man United.
“They controlled large parts of this game but give up a lot of chances.”