Manchester United are haunted by the ghosts of champions past… It’s time to let Ronaldo and Fergie go

The moody Portuguese star is set to return to Europa League action against Sheriff Tiraspol tonight after being dropped at the weekend for storming down the tunnel before the final whistle in last week’s victory over Spurs – but manager Ten Hag should be the one showing disruptive figures the door, writes Laura Lawrence.

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The naughty step doesn’t seem be working anymore. Suella Braverman resigned/was forced to resign as home secretary for security breaches and was reinstated in less than a week. Cristiano Ronaldo’s temper tantrum, after he refused to come on as a sub against Tottenham and flounced off home before the end of the match, earned him a similar suspension to Braverman.

Bad behaviour is being rewarded, but why?

The Portugal legend is set to make his return in Manchester United’s Europa League game against Sheriff Tiraspol tonight. His relationship with Erik Ten Hag looks to be held together by the thinnest of threads. With Ronaldo’s PR team constantly briefing against the club to the press and his general air from the pitch and bench that he deserves better, is it time that United dispense with the 38-year-old primadonna?

Suggestions are that he’s had offers to move to clubs in Saudi Arabia, China and the US. You get the feeling that meagre crowds won’t feed the ego of the Portuguese player, even if it fills up his already substantial bank account.

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There are mixed reviews of Ronaldo’s behaviour. Player pundits generally kowtow to him. If you have exceptional talent, a little bad behaviour is usually overlooked for the greater good on the pitch, and where the club is concerned, more shirt sales.

But there’s a point in every relationship where there must be a recalibration to restore balance, order and some semblance of unity. When a manager or even a prime minister takes over it can take a while to figure out where the problems are and how to rectify them. Bringing disruptive figures from the past back aren’t always the answer to the problem.

When Ten Hag took the Manchester United role it was glaringly obvious where the issues lie but influence of the past are still affecting the dressing room.

There is a shadow over Manchester United. When Ronaldo walked away from Old Trafford without a backwards glance towards his team-mates, many commentators voiced the opinion that, “It would never have happened under Alex Ferguson.”

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This is where Manchester United and Ten Hag need to start if they are ever to progress. Let Alex Ferguson go. His opinion is moot. The spectre of every hypothetical decision Ferguson might have made is unhelpful. Ten Hag may not have the tenure or the respect of ‘Old Daddy Ferguson’, but he does have the ability to control who steps on the pitch. You play for the team or not at all. Doesn’t matter how many awards you have gleaming on your shelves.

Past Ronaldo doesn’t exist either and he can throw as many toys out of his pram as he likes, it’s fact. If this reputation of being a disruption in the dressing continues, his dream of continuing to play at the highest level will become a distant memory. Only clubs who want to trade on his name will be interested in him.

Manchester United need to let Ferguson and Ronaldo go — and work towards the next era of success without the spectre of them.

Follow Laura on Twitter @YICETOR

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