Premier League English

Recalling when Sir Alex Ferguson loved Cristiano Ronaldo’s angry reaction to Manchester United substitution

Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo has been caught in the glare of the headlines again for his angry reaction to being substituted during the win over Brentford as the 36-year-old, returning after two games out injured, was pulled out by Ralf Rangnick with just under 20 minutes to play against Brentford and with Manchester United enjoying a comfortable 2-0 advantage.

This is certainly not the first time he has been substituted since returning to Old Trafford but the reaction this time is similar to one he produced during his final season at the club 11 seasons ago.

Admittedly it isn’t often that Ronaldo is substituted but Sir Alex Ferguson would be one of the last people to have been surprised by his angry reaction.

Under Ferguson 11 seasons ago, United were on a leisurely 2-0 cruise against Manchester City in the derby with Ronaldo having opened the scoring with a free kick and Carlos Tevez had doubled the advantage before the break. This was when Ferguson decided it was time to pull the plug and switch gears and replaced Ronaldo with Paul Scholes with only just an hour played.

Ronaldo immediately reacted with lots of vigorous, disapproving shakes of the head and even a pep talk from Ferguson on the touchline could not calm him down as he furiously swatted away a coat as he walked off angrily to the bench.

Ferguson, although not one to calmly accept rude, petulant behavior from his players, was relatively calm and even found the attacker’s attitude refreshing. He said after the match: “It is great that he wanted to play on. It is fabulous. But I have to look at the big picture.

“He produced an incredible performance against Arsenal on Tuesday. He ran his socks off. Now I have Wednesday and Saturday to look after. There is no problem.”

The five-time Ballon d’Or’s relationship with the legendary Scottish manager is actually quite fascinating after the pair struck up a flourishing relationship during the Portugal international’s time in the North West between 2003 and 2009 after the 13-time Premier League tactician signed him from Sporting.

Ronaldo recalled: “I was a little bit nervous, but he helped me a lot with the communication. He called me sometimes to his office with the translator there but doesn’t matter.

“The important thing is to tell me things to help me to grow up like a person, like a player and, since day one, everything that he told me, he did. I appreciate that a lot. I always say that he’s like a father for me in football.

“I have to appreciate everything he did for me, for my family and especially for the club. He did an amazing job.”