Skip to main content

Roy Keane on Cristiano Ronaldo return: "A few days in Portugal has done the trick"

Cristiano Keane
(Image credit: Getty)

Roy Keane gave a typically sarcastic remark when Cristiano Ronaldo returned to the Manchester United starting line-up against Tottenham.

Ronaldo was surprisingly absent from the squad for last week's embarrassing 4-1 defeat to Manchester City, with interim manager Ralf Rangnick saying the player had a hip flexor injury.

There was some disagreement about whether Ronaldo was truly injured, with his sister liking a post on Instagram which said he was fit and had in fact been dropped for the derby.

Keane also cast doubt on Ronaldo's injury, saying "something doesn't add up" before the derby.

Ronaldo then escaped to Portugal to treat the injury.

One week on, Keane made a smirk when asked about Ronaldo's return to the team in Sky Sports' pre-match coverage, suggesting he did not want to be on the substitutes' bench against City.

"I’m glad he’s recovered. Obviously a few days in Portugal has done the trick for injury problems, hip flexor," he said.

But Keane then went on to praise Ronaldo, adding: "It's good to see him back. He’s a quality player whatever has gone on in the background, whether he didn’t want to be on the bench or whatever.

"He’s starting, his goals record is fantastic. We could talk all about the things he’s not good at, pressing, but put the balls in the right area and he’ll score. When he’s on that pitch you always fancy him to score."

Keane's words certainly rang true as Ronaldo went on to score a hat-trick to power United to a 3-2 win and propel them back into fourth spot in the Premier League.

He also overtook Josef Bican as the highest goalscorer of all time.

Keane also said Marcus Rashford needed to make the most of a first start in five Premier League games after speculation he could leave the club due to a lack of first-team opportunities.

"He’s had a difficult few months, a lot of players do, you have your ups and downs but he’s gotta get through it, maybe simplify his game and start running in behind," added the former United captain.

"He needs to start enjoying it again. You have to bear in mind that for Marcus, for all the brilliant things he’s done, he’s playing for Manchester United. It's one of the greatest feelings in the world playing for a big club, he’s got a big opportunity today so take it.

"Focus on the game today, it's Spurs you’re at home it's a big game for Man United, if you get a chance run in behind, make the most of that, when he gets in behind and sees that space, run. Don’t forget to run."

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Richard Martin is an experienced football writer, editor and social media producer. Before returning to London, he spent 10 years in Spain as a football correspondent and has attended over 600 games across 16 countries, his favourite being Argentina. He has also worked for Reuters, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Times and AS.