Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has axed striker Cristiano Ronaldo from the squad to face Chelsea on Saturday as punishment for his early exit during the win over Tottenham Hotspur.
Ten Hag has taken the decision after Ronaldo left Old Trafford before the end of the victory over Spurs on Wednesday.
Ronaldo did not train with the first team squad Thursday and is not expected to rejoin the group until Monday.
Sources say that the club have backed the action taken by Ten Hag but insist the 37-year-old remains “an important part of the squad.”
A club statement issued on Thursday read: “Cristiano will not be part of the Manchester United squad for this Saturday’s game against Chelsea. The rest of the squad is fully focused on preparing for that fixture.”
Ronaldo left his seat on the bench to walk down the tunnel before the full-time whistle against Tottenham, despite Ten Hag having two more substitutions available.
Reports have emerged that the striker refused to come on when Ten Hag brought on Christian Eriksen and Anthony Elanga in the 87th minute. United have declined to comment on those reports.
Ronaldo then left the stadium and was not in the dressing room when Ten Hag and the players returned.
Ronaldo reported to United’s Carrington training ground at around 10:30 a.m. on Thursday.
He held talks with Ten Hag before the Dutchman decided to drop him from his squad to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
It is the second time Ronaldo has been reprimanded by Ten Hag for leaving a game early.
The United boss branded his behaviour “unacceptable” after he was pictured leaving Old Trafford before the end of a preseason friendly against Rayo Vallecano in July. Ronaldo started the game but was substituted at half-time.
Ronaldo was also captured shaking his head after Ten Hag’s decision to substitute him during the second half of the 0-0 draw with Newcastle on Sunday.
The Portugal international is keen to leave the club after starting just two Premier League games. He has scored two goals in 12 appearances so far this season, including his 700th club career goal in the 2-1 win over Everton earlier this month.