Wayne Rooney told talkSPORT Cristiano Ronaldo is at risk of becoming an ‘unwelcome distraction’ at Manchester United.
On Sunday, he proved his former teammate right by giving an interview to Piers Morgan on Talk TV where he seemingly ended his time at the club.
But before that bombshell came to light, Rooney had insisted his former teammate’s behaviour has been unacceptable this season.
Ronaldo stormed out of United’s game against Tottenham in October, walking down the tunnel before the final whistle after he was left on the bench as a substitute.
It was not the first act of petulance from the 37-year-old since Erik ten Hag’s arrival as manager in the summer.
Former United captain Roy Keane has been among those defending Ronaldo, insisting he understands his frustrations.
Rooney, though, wanted to see the five-time Ballon d’Or winner knuckle down and accept his role under Ten Hag, something he is clearly not willing to do.
Asked on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast if Manchester United are a better team with Ronaldo in the side, Rooney responded: “No, I don’t think so.
“Him and Messi are arguably the two best players of all-time and you can go either way with that, whatever way you decide.
“But I just think the things he has done from the start of the season, it is not acceptable for Manchester United. I’ve seen Roy Keane defending him. Roy wouldn’t accept that. Roy wouldn’t accept that at all.
“It is a distraction which Manchester United don’t need at the minute, trying to rebuild.
“For Cristiano, just get your head down and work and be ready to play when the manager needs you. If he does that, he will be an asset. If he doesn’t, it will become an unwanted distraction.”
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Ronaldo was dropped by Ten Hag for the Chelsea game in October after his Tottenham walk-out.
Rooney has been impressed by the way the Dutchman has handled the situation, and feels he is doing a good job at United.
The five-time Premier League title winner and United’s record goalscorer still has close ties to the club and claims the mood around Old Trafford has been transformed under Ten Hag.
“I think Ten Hag has done really well,” he told talkSPORT Breakfast.
“He’s come in and stamped his authority on the team, and for the first time in about two or three years I’m starting to see an identity with Manchester United which I haven’t seen in the last two of three years.
“He’s shown his strength and his character with how he dealt with Cristiano [Ronaldo] at times with the stuff he’s been up to.
“He’s the right man for the job. I think it will take time but it’s a real step in the right direction to finish in that top four and get Champions League football again.”
When asked if he’d spoken much to the new Red Devils boss, Rooney said: “To be honest, I haven’t met him.
“I had Steve McClaren at Derby [whose gone to Manchester United] who I know well and has gone in there, and I’m very close with Darren Fletcher so I know what he’s doing and how he’s going about his work.
“I know the players and staff are a lot happier than they have been over the last couple of years.”
Asked about Rooney’s comments, Ronaldo suggested jealousy was the reason.
“I don’t know why he criticises me so badly,” he told Morgan. “Probably because he finished his career and I’m still playing at high level.”
With a smile on his face, the player then added: “I’m not going to say that I’m looking better than him. Which is true.”