Cristiano Ronaldo absent from six yards in a Europa League clash at Omonia Nicosia has summed up how frustrating the season has been for him.
The 37-year-old received his fourth start of the 2022/23 campaign as he sought his 700th career club goal in Manchester United’s narrow victory over the Cypriot minnows.
He played the full 90 minutes but was forced to wait for the decisive goal – but it wasn’t for lack of effort on his part.
Ronaldo had plenty of sites on goal but couldn’t find the net, although he really should have scored in the 77th minute.
Diogo Dalot managed to return the ball with the goal wide open and no keeper in sight, and you would have bet your house on Ronaldo’s score.
But Ronaldo’s shot bounced off the post and into the grateful arms of Omonia Nicosia goalkeeper Fabiano Freitas.
He struggled to hide his anger after missing several chances, with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner scoring just one goal in his nine appearances for the Red Devils this season.
Perhaps some of that anger had more to do with how his season went, as he became a full-fledged player under Erik ten Hag.
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Much has been made of the fact that Ronaldo played no part in Man United’s 6-3 defeat at Manchester City last weekend.
Ten Hag was heavily criticized for not involving him, however, Red Devils legend Paul Scholes did not approve of the decision to play Ronaldo in Cyprus.
Scholes said on BT Sport: “I think it’s almost more disrespectful to play him on a Thursday night in the Europa League. This man is a global superstar.
“I’m not saying that at 37 he should start the games, the big games in particular, but it’s a competition for which it’s difficult to get motivated.
“I don’t like to say that, but it’s true when you’re a great player at a great club like this.”
Ronaldo has the chance to get the club’s 700 goal when Man United travel to Everton on Sunday night, if Ten Hag plays him.
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