After missing two successive games due to a knock, coach Rangnick included Ronaldo in the squad that traveled to Brentford Community Stadium. Unfortunately for the 36-year-old Portuguese football icon, he could not do much in the game.
In the first half of the Premier League match, Brentford proved to be more determined to win as they threw away a series of goalscoring chances. The presence of Cristiano Ronaldo was not felt in the first 45 minutes.
Still, coach Ralf Rangnick allowed the five-time Ballon d’Or winner to continue with the game until the 71st-minute mark when the coach decided to replace him with a central defender, Harry Maguire.
At the point Ronaldo was taken out of the game, Manchester United were leading their host 2-0, hence, the coach decided to bring in a more defensive-minded player to prevent what happened in their last Premier League game in which Aston Villa came from behind to draw 2-2.
But Cristiano Ronaldo did not see it from that perspective. The Portuguese star believed he was having a good game even though he was not penetrating the opposition box as much as expected.
The decision of the coach to take off Ronaldo did not backfire as Manchester United went on to beat Brentford 3-1 to increase their chances of finishing in the top four thanks to goals from Anthony Elanga, Mason Greenwood, and Marcus Rashford.
During the post-match press conference, coach Rangnick revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo asked him why he decided to substitute him. The coach went on to stress that he decided to take him out of the game for the good of the team.
“The only reaction I got was, ‘why me? Why did you take me off?’ I had to decide on the interest of the team and the club”, the coach said. “We did the same thing when 2-0 up at Villa and didn’t want to make the same mistake again.
“I understand Cristiano is ambitious but maybe when he is a manager in the future, he will make the same decision after 75 minutes.
“I didn’t expect him to hug me after being substituted. I know how goalscoring players think and I had to make this decision. I have no issues with Cristiano. He was coming back from injury and hadn’t played for one-and-a-half weeks. We had the likes of Rashford and Anthony Martial on the bench so why not use it? I would make the same decision again.
“I’ve been here now for six weeks and I’ve never had an issue with Cristiano. We discussed the Villa Cup game about his injury and we agreed not to use him.
“He was available again today and we decided to play him from the start. The most important thing is that we win games and this comes first.”
While reacting further on the countenance of Cristiano Ronaldo when he was substituted on Wednesday, coach Rangnick told BT Sport that it was normal for a striker to react the way the Portuguese star reacted.
“But he has come back from a little injury and it was important to remember we have got another game coming up”, the coach added.
“Also after what happened at Villa Park, we had to defend the lead this time and we needed to go back to a back five and while we didn’t keep the clean sheet, it was important to make sure nothing else happened.”
Since Ronaldo returned to Manchester United, he has played 23 matches in all competitions in which he managed to score 14 goals and provided 3 assists. He has scored 8 goals in the Premier League so far this season.