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Ronaldo bites back at 'jealous' Rooney amid criticism of Man Utd return from former team-mate

10:35 GMT+3 07/04/2022
Cristiano Ronaldo Man Utd 2021-22
The Portuguese superstar has seen his decision to head back to Old Trafford in the summer of 2021 questioned by a man he once played alongside

Cristiano Ronaldo has responded to questions being asked of his decision to rejoin Manchester United in the summer of 2021 by branding former team-mate Wayne Rooney, who has suggested that a move was not right for all parties, as “jealous”.

The Red Devils’ all-time leading goalscorer was a guest on Sky Sports during their coverage of Arsenal’s Premier League defeat at Crystal Palace, with the ex-England captain inevitably being asked about the presence at Old Trafford of a man that he once played alongside.

Rooney claimed that Ronaldo is “getting on a bit” and “isn’t the player he was”, with the Portuguese coming in for criticism at times this season as he struggles to provide the level of inspiration that United are crying out for, but an iconic 37-year-old continues to turn a deaf ear to his doubters.

What did Rooney say about Ronaldo?

The former United forward, who famously drew a wink from Ronaldo after being sent off for England against Portugal at the 2006 World Cup, told Sky Sports when asked if re-signing a club legend had worked out for the Red Devils: “You’d have to say no, at the minute.

“I think he’s scored goals, he’s scored important goals in the Champions League early on in the season. He scored the hat-trick against Tottenham.

“But I think if you look to the future of the club you would have to go with younger, hungry players to do the best to lift Manchester United over these next two, three years.

“And obviously Cristiano is getting on a bit. He certainly isn’t the player he was when he was in his 20s. And that happens, that’s football. He’s a goal threat but I think the rest of the game they need more, they need young, hungry players.

“I think they’ve got good young players. I think [Jadon] Sancho will be better next year, I think Marcus [Rashford] will be better next year.

“They’ve got good young players, I think Jesse Lingard should be playing for them because he brings energy, he brings quality. Scott McTominay has done well, so they have got some good young players.

“They just have to get that confidence, get them believing they are good players and perform at a better level and then obviously whoever the new manager is he’ll bring his own players in and try to rebuild that group.”

How did Ronaldo respond?

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner responded to a post from Rooney on Instagram by claiming that his former colleague is “two jealous”.

While fingers of blame have been pointed in Ronaldo’s direction this season, as questions are asked of his work rate and supposed leadership skills, he has still hit 18 goals through 32 appearances in all competitions.

He is destined to end the 2021-22 campaign empty-handed, as all avenues to major silverware have been shut off for United, but a top-four finish and Champions League qualification remains there to be shot at.

The Red Devils, who were held to a 1-1 home draw by Leicester in their last outing as Ronaldo missed out through illness, will be back in action on Saturday when taking in a trip to relegation-threatened Everton.

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