Cristiano Ronaldo’s telling gesture to Anthony Elanga after Man Utd WhatsApp decision


Manchester United were dumped out of the FA Cup by Middlesbrough on Friday night, with Cristiano Ronaldo missing a penalty in the first half, before Anthony Elanga missed one in the shootout

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In pictures: Man Utd v Middlesbrough

Cristiano Ronaldo has backed up his commitment to continue bridging the gap between a divided Manchester United dressing room.

The 37-year-old arrived at Old Trafford last summer to much fanfare, returning to Old Trafford as a genuine world superstar 12 years after leaving the club.

And on the field, his impact has been immediate, finding the net 14 times in his first season back in English football.

But it hasn’t been plain sailing, returning to a club in a vastly different position to the one in which he left for Real Madrid.

No longer competing for major honours and now on their fifth manager since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, Ronaldo has publicly stated his unhappiness with the direction of the Red Devils.

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Cristiano Ronaldo conducted an honest interview on the early months of his Man Utd return
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He broke ranks by publicly criticising some of the youngsters in the United dressing room, for what he perceived as an unwillingness to take on board criticism.

“The mature players, the older players, they can always help the young players,” he told Premier League Productions in January.

“But I can give an example. If I give you advice, even if you are younger than me, if you don’t implant that during your daily life, it will be difficult.

“I can speak all day with that person, but if it’s not coming from inside of you, it’s impossible.

“I remember, when I was 18, 19, 20, some older players spoke with me.

“But I put that as ‘Cristiano, you have to improve – they know more than you, they are more experienced than you, they passed through many bad moments’.”

However, in an attempt to steady the ship under Ralf Rangnick’s leadership, it has emerged that the Portuguese veteran joined a WhatsApp group which included some younger members of the squad in a bid to unify the playing staff.

The Sun reported that Ronaldo made the decision to join the group – which also includes Marcus Rashford, James Garner, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Elanga – to make him more approachable to the starstruck academy graduates.






Ronaldo has reportedly joined a WhatsApp group to help bring together the United dressing room

And the impact of that was clear to see when, rather than show any signs of frustration, Ronaldo – who had missed a penalty in the first half of play – instantly consoled Elanga, 19, after missing the decisive penalty in the shootout defeat to Middlesbrough in the FA Cup.

Elanga missed the 15th spot-kick to secure Boro’s passage and likely consign United to a fifth season without winning major silverware.

But after being criticised for showing some negative body language at points this season, Ronaldo was straight over to Elanga, putting an arm around his shoulder.

He then was spotted whispering to the disconsolate winger, before walking him down the tunnel at the Stretford End.






Ronaldo quickly consoled Anthony Elanga following his penalty miss

Rangnick told his players that now was the time to rally around Elanga, who has burst onto the scene under the German tactician.

“Anthony Elanga, anyone can imagine how he is, he is shattered and absolutely disappointed,” he told ITV Sport. “It was the eighth penalty which had all converted.

“We will try to encourage him again, be there for him and it can happen to more experienced players.

“We could not have had more players to take it, there was Luke Shaw, Phil Jones and the goalkeeper.”

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