Roy Keane delivers verdict on Cristiano Ronaldo ‘mentality’ amid Man Utd ‘desire’ claim

Roy Keane has hailed Cristiano Ronaldo for having the mentality to return to Manchester United last summer.

Roy Keane has hailed Cristiano Ronaldo for having the mentality to return to Manchester United last summer.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was unveiled as a United player for the second time on deadline day last year, having signed for the Red Devils from Juventus. Since then, he has endured a mixed time at Old Trafford. Ronaldo hit 24 goals across 39 matches in all competitions last season, but has been largely starved of opportunities since Erik ten Hag took over in the dugout at the start of the campaign.

So far, the 37-year-old has played just 268 minutes in the Premier League, and has started just one of his seven appearances. Sunday’s 2-1 over Everton represented a significant personal milestone for Ronaldo, however, with the forward coming off the bench to net his 700th club career goal.

Speaking on Sky Sports on Monday, Keane shared his admiration for his former team-mate, and the evolution that Ronaldo’s style of play has taken on in recent seasons.

He said: “I think he has got that football intelligence. He is a student of the game and he is always wanting to learn, even now. He has also got international goals; his international record is fantastic. He has done it with his country and won a major trophy. The way he has learned his trade... but you can see as he has got older he has changed his game.

“When he was young he was a dribbler, beating players. As he got older, he realised and thought ‘I’m not getting involved in that, I want to get on the end of stuff instead’. That’s his football intelligence. His personality is one of his prizes.

“Even his mentality to come back to Manchester United, I would give him a huge thumbs up for that. He has come back to United, a club supposedly not in a great place, in terms of where they are standing on the field at the moment, where they are struggling and been left behind by a lot of other teams, and shown real desire to come back and want to do well for the club. I take my hat off to him for that.”