Cannot force to play: Rangnick rubbishes Keanes doubts over Cristiano Ronaldos fitness

Manchester City demolished arch-rivals Manchester United 4-1 in the Manchester derby on Sunday, with both Kevin de Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez scoring a brace each, while Jadon Sancho scored a consolation goal for the visiting side. Following the Red Devils’ disappointing display, several questions were asked of Cristiano Ronaldo, and Edinson Cavani’s absence as 19-year old Anthony Elanga led the line-up in one of Manchester United’s most important games of the ongoing season.

Red Devils legend Roy Keane was one of the many that questioned the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s absence, stating that it did not add up that a player of his calibre was injured considering that he is a ‘machine.’ However, Manchester United’s interim coach Ralf Rangnick defended the 37-year old’s absence from the squad, stating that he cannot force an injured player to feature in a game, no matter how important it is.

Ralf Rangnick rubbishes Keane’s comments on Cristiano Ronaldo

Manchester United legend Roy Keane had questioned Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence from his former side for the all-important Manchester derby before kick-off as he said, “We talk about Ronaldo being a machine, and very rarely getting injured… it doesn’t add up to me.”

During an intense post-match press conference after the heavy defeat to Manchester City, Red Devils’ interim coach Ralf Rangnick responded to Keane’s scathing remarks as he said, “I have to believe my medical department. My doctor came to see me on Friday morning before training and told me Cristiano Ronaldo cannot train because of some problems with his hip flexor. and the same was true on Saturday, and that’s why he couldn’t be part of the squad.”

Rangnick went on to defend his stance by adding that it was difficult for him to accept such a fact that his top players could not play in some important matches. “What does it help if I tell you it’s frustrating,” added the German coach. “It’s just a fact if players tell the doctor and the medical department that they are injured and cannot play. I have to accept it as a manager. I cannot force a player to play if he thinks he’s not available because he has an injury.”

When pushed further about Edinson Cavani deciding when he plays, Rangnick replied, “Edi trained in the last three days. He trained well, but he still felt after those three training sessions that he is still not fit to play. This is a fact, and as a manager, I cannot force a player to play if he doesn’t feel fit or well enough to play.”

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