“Important to him”- Portugal boss puts pressure on Solskjaer to hand more playing time to Ronaldo

Portugal manager Fernando Santos wants Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to play Cristiano Ronaldo more often at Manchester United

Speaking in a press conference earlier this week (h/t Daily Star), Portugal manager Fernando Santos conveyed his displeasure at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for not handing enough game time to Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United.

The 36-year-old striker returned to Old Trafford after 12 long years this summer as he sealed a move from Juventus. A five-time Ballon d’Or winner, he is rightly considered by many as one of the greatest players of all time.

With his accolades and status in the footballing world, a player like Ronaldo would demand regular starts. Since being announced as a Red Devil, Ronaldo has started 5 out of the possible 7 games he could have played in.

Cristiano Ronaldo won the Premier League POTM for September 2021. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Cristiano Ronaldo won the Premier League POTM for September 2021. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

But according to Santos, he still needs more playing time to get into his ‘rhythm’. The Portuguese star was rested against Everton in United’s last game before the international break, and Santos’ comments are primarily directed towards the game.

“He will go to the game [against Qatar] because he needs playing time. It’s important to him at this stage. The last full game he played was in the Champions League [vs Villarreal, 29 September].”

Shots fired at Ole

The 2016 UEFA Euro winners are due to play against Qatar on Saturday, with a game against Luxembourg just three days later on October 12th. And Santos believes it is important for Ronaldo to play against Qatar this weekend.

Cristiano Ronaldo will be in action for Portugal
Cristiano Ronaldo will be in action for Portugal

“If he only plays against Luxembourg, he will have practically 15 days without playing with intensity.”

Solskjaer came under some scrutiny even from Sir Alex Ferguson for his decision to bench Ronaldo against Everton until around the hour mark, but to indicate that Ronaldo isn’t getting enough game time at Man United would be baseless.

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At 36, he is no longer a spring chicken and his game time has to be carefully managed. Regardless of that, he has played 465 out of a possible 540 minutes of regulation at Man United this season since his move.