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Manchester United could plummet if Cristiano Ronaldo leaves, warns Gary Neville

Manchester United face a ‘massive decision’ over Cristiano Ronaldo and could finish in the bottom half of the table if he leaves, warns Gary Neville… as the Red Devils icon brands the spirit in the club’s dressing room ‘really bad’

  • Man United must come to a conclusion over Cristiano Ronaldo, Gary Neville says
  • The striker wants to leave Old Trafford but started the 4-0 thrashing at Brentford
  • Neville fears United will end in the Premier League bottom half without Ronaldo
  • The club legend says the atmosphere in the United dressing room is ‘really bad’ 

Gary Neville has urged Manchester United to reach a conclusion on wantaway striker Cristiano Ronaldo – but fears the 20-time champions will finish in the bottom half of the top flight without their top scorer in 2021-22.

Despite agitating for a move to a club in the Champions League, Ronaldo was introduced as a substitute during the 1-0 opening defeat to Brighton and started the disastrous 4-0 thrashing at Brentford on Saturday.

New United manager Erik ten Hag has said he wants to work with the scorer of 18 goals in 30 Premier League appearances last season, leaving the five-time Ballon d’Or winner in limbo and cutting a frustrated figure on the pitch.

Cristiano Ronaldo was clearly a frustrated forward as Manchester United lost 4-0 at Brentford

Cristiano Ronaldo was clearly a frustrated forward as Manchester United lost 4-0 at Brentford

United icon Gary Neville fears his former side will finish in the bottom half if Ronaldo departs

United icon Gary Neville fears his former side will finish in the bottom half if Ronaldo departs

Neville told Sky Sports: ‘There’s a massive decision to make on Cristiano Ronaldo, and they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

‘Before these two results, I said that the best thing to do is to facilitate a move out of the club for Cristiano, and the club are not happy with him. 

‘The problem now is that if they lose him, there’s nothing left for the club in the goalscoring part of the pitch.

‘I genuinely think that if they don’t bring players in in the next couple of weeks – or if they bring poor players in and he leaves – they could finish in the bottom half of the table.

‘They’re a bottom-half-of-the-table team. That’s a massive statement and I might look stupid at the end of the season.

‘United will ride the wave over the next few months and get through this season but they’re going to have live through the rockiest times they’ve had since they got relegated [in 1974].’

Midfielder Bruno Fernandes’ tally of 10 goals made Ronaldo’s international teammate the only other United player to reach double figures in the Premier League during the Portugal captain’s first season after returning to the club.

Erik ten Hag faces a considerable challenge to revive United after starting with two limp losses

Erik ten Hag faces a considerable challenge to revive United after starting with two limp losses

‘I got to the point [against Brentford] where you have to move away from the players,’ said an alarmed Neville. 

‘When a school is underperforming and getting poor results over a long period of time, they get put in special measures by the government.

‘The kids don’t get blamed. That’s where Manchester United are: they’re in special measures and you can’t blame the kids anymore.

‘The same players who we were watching on Saturday got to the Europa League final 15 months ago.

‘They’re demoralised and absolutely shot to pieces. It’s really bad in there. I thought Erik ten Hag, in pre-season, had got them back to a really confident level, but what’s happened is that they’ve gone back to default. Old things have come back.’

No United player has scored a goal yet during the 2022-23 campaign. The Red Devils host Liverpool next Monday. 

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