Roy Keane and Jamie Carragher were involved in a heated argument on Sunday as they discussed Cristiano Ronaldo’s role at Man Utd.
The Portugal international was left on the bench by caretaker boss Michael Carrick as the Red Devils managed to earn a 1-1 draw at Chelsea.
Jadon Sancho opened the scoring early in the second half after he capitalised on Jorginho’s failure to control Bruno Fernandes’ up-and-under clearance.
Jorginho quickly atoned for that error by burying his 13th Premier League penalty to drag the Blues back on to level terms.
However, the main talking point after the match was Ronaldo’s benching with Keane wondering why you would buy Ronaldo to sit on the bench.
Things then turned up a notch in the Sky Sports studio when Carragher claimed he could “understand” why the 36-year-old had been left out.
Here’s the full transcript:
Keane: “Ronaldo’s not one to come off the bench. Ronaldo has not come back to sit on the bench.
“His overall play he knew the ref was going to blow the whistle. Why Carrick is trying to give him a high-five, I don’t know let him get down the tunnel.
“[There’s] nothing wrong with a player being upset but Ronaldo has not come back to sit on the bench.
“He’s a world class player, the idea Ronaldo will close people down he’s not. But sometimes you have to work around the superstar.
“I played with players who don’t do their bit you’d hope, the Cantonas of the world but you forgive him because they will score and win the matches. He could’ve played easily.”
Carragher: “I think going away to big games I can understand why Carrick didn’t start him. He’s 36.
“Ronaldo’s not the player he was – he’s still obviously delivering for Manchester United in terms of goals – but I don’t think it should be a big story if he doesn’t start every game or, at times, comes off.”
Keane: “Not every game, Jamie, but this is a big game for Man United today. I’d forgive some of the Champions League group games when I still ‘United are gonna get through’.
“But Ronaldo, if you bumped into him in the car park, you see a guy who’s won everything in the game, who’s come back to United to try and lift the club – of course he wants to play in these games, of course he wants to play.”
Carragher: “That’s every player, Roy, doesn’t every player wanna play every game?
Keane: “But they’re not all world class, Jamie. Not everyone’s played 800 games in their career.
“If you’re watching Man United today and Man United are poor, you’re still looking and thinking you still think if Ronaldo is on the pitch, whatever your feelings are, if the ball falls to anybody in world football – even now at 36 – it’s Ronaldo.
“It’s not as if he’s come back to the club and he’s not scored, and you go ‘he can’t get up to speed, he looks off it, he’s as if he’s not interested,’ – he looks on it, he looks interested.
“But then this idea that he’s getting the blame for the high press.”
Carragher: “But he doesn’t press, does he?”
Keane: ‘He’s not going to fix United’s problems’.
“But you don’t bring Ronaldo back to Man United to sit on the bench.
“Of course he’s not gonna start every game, but it’s Chelsea away, there’s gonna be counter attacks, you might get one or two balls into the box.”
Keane: “Do you think Rashford pressed today? Rashford did nothing today.”
Carragher: “Why did Manchester United sign Ronaldo in the summer? They signed him because they were terrified of him going to Man City.
“There was no plan to sign him.”
Keane: “But he was always gonna play, Jamie, did they sign him not to go to City and sit with us on the bench?”
Carragher: “Is a Manchester United manager not allowed to put Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench?
“They’ve come here and the guy who played has scored the goals.”
Keane: “Stats have obviously taken over the world – his stats since coming back to Man United are good.”
Carragher: “Goalscoring-wise, yeah, definitely!”
Keane: “Alright yeah, what’s the game about? Scoring goals! You talk about [Mohamed] Salah, the game’s about goals, Jamie! Ian Rush – what did he do? He scored goals.”
Carragher: “Did he press as well?”
Keane: “Yeah but he didn’t score as many as Ronaldo!”
Carragher: “I’m not criticising Ronaldo as a player. He’s a phenomenon in terms of goals.
“But I mentioned this in midweek with Lionel Messi – Paris Saint-Germain have signed Messi, United signed Ronaldo, two of the greatest players of all-time.
“Are Man United closer to the title right now than they were last season? No.
“Are PSG closer to the Champions League with Messi in the team? No.
“We speak about goalscorers, or whatever position you are, it’s a team game.”
David Jones: “So you think it’s a mistake? Signing Ronaldo?”
You don’t want to miss this…
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) November 28, 2021
Keane: “Ronaldo was never going to get United back to winning titles.”
Carragher: “What was the point in signing him then?! He’s 37!”
Keane: “Did you win the FA Cup?”
Carragher: “Yeah, I did, I did!”
Keane: “Yeah so go back to winning the FA Cup. They got through to the next round of the Champions League, how much you think that’s worth to the club. The Glazers and share prices- that’s what he’s come back for!”
Carragher: “If you finish 2nd and you then sign Ronaldo at 36, you’re not going to win the League in four years. If you sign someone at 36 it’s to win right now.
“If you sign Varane a four-time Champions League winner and World Cup, it’s to win right now. Are they any closer to winning the league?”
Keane: “No. He’s not come back to win the league.”
Carragher: “So what’s he come back for?! What’s he here for then?”
Keane: “Well, Mourinho didn’t win the league but won one or two trophies. When you won the FA Cup were you not buzzing with that? United are a cup team at the moment.”
Carragher: “You said Ronaldo hasn’t come to win the League, what is he here for?!”
Keane: “For cups.”
Carragher: “Is that where Man United have gone?”
Carragher: “You’re happy with cups?
Keane: “I’m not but thats where they are as a club. Look at the team look at the league, look at the last two or three years they won’t win the league for the two or three years, I’ll tell you that.”
Carragher: “Why sign Ronaldo at 36 if they’re not going to win for the next two or three years? Start getting Greenwood on the pitch, start getting Sancho on the pitch.”
Keane: “They were never going to win the league with Ronaldo.”
Carragher: “So what was the point?”
Keane: “I’ll say it one more time. To win some trophies, FA Cups, that’s where they are.”
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