Cristiano Ronaldo must accept “he is not 25 years old” anymore and follow the examples of veterans Ryan Giggs, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paolo Maldini.
That was the message from Manchester United great Eric Cantona, who referenced the leading role Ibrahimovic has played at Milan despite his status diminishing to a squad role.
Ronaldo parted ways with United in an acrimonious exit after stating he felt “betrayed” by the club and had little respect for Red Devils head coach Erik ten Hag and former interim boss Ralf Rangnick.
The Portugal forward started just 10 of United’s 21 matches prior to his departure, though Cantona suggested the 37-year-old should have handled the situation in a different manner.
Ibrahimovic played through injury as Milan ended an 11-year wait for the Scudetto last term, scoring eight goals in 23 Serie A games to support Stefano Pioli’s regular starters Olivier Giroud and Rafael Leao.
Cantona told CalcioMercato: “There are two types of veterans: those who want to play every game because they still think they’re 25 and those who realise they’re not 25 and are here to help young players, they know they won’t play every game, but they’re aware that they’ll have their moment.
“There are players who help new players: Ibrahimovic still does it with Milan, Ryan Giggs or Maldini himself when he was at Milan.
“Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t realise he’s not 25 years old. He’s already older and doesn’t know that, instead of being unhappy about not having played all the time, he should accept the situation.”
Ronaldo could make his debut for Al Nassr against Ettifaq next Sunday after missing clashes with Al Tai and Al Shabab due to a two-match ban from the English football Association.