Manchester United were thrashed 6-3 by Manchester City at The Etihad Stadium on Sunday, with Cristiano Ronaldo little more than a frustrated spectator to the ongoing carnage
For much of the week leading up to the Manchester derby, there was an expectation Ronaldo would be handed a rare Premier League start. But the return to fitness of Marcus Rashford meant the 37-year-old was on the bench as Manchester City put them to the sword, winning 6-3 at The Etihad,
Manager Erik ten Hag opted to stick with the side that had beaten Arsenal and Liverpool prior to the international break, but they were blown away by a devastating performance by the champions. Erling Haaland and Phil Foden both scored hat-tricks to underline just how far the Red Devils are behind their rivals once described as the ‘noisy neighbours’.
And with the game out of sight by half-time, much of the attention turned towards an increasingly frustrated Ronaldo – as he watched on from the shell-shocked United dugout. The cameras repeatedly switched to the forlorn striker, who was spotted with his head in hands as things got out of hand for his teammates.
Those actions came from a player who had “contempt and nothing but disdain”, according to Darren Stanton, a leading body language expert. Darren exclusively told Mirror Football on behalf of MyBettingSites, exactly what was going through the mind of Ronaldo during the Manchester derby.
“A micro expression is a very quick flash that the face makes on an unconscious level which reveals the person’s real internal emotion and is only visible for about less than a second, if you know what to look for it’s very visible,” Darren explained.
“As we look at the footage of Ronaldo, he makes a one-sided smile so the left-hand side of his face and cheek wrinkles puff up. This is the emotion of contempt so he has nothing but disdain, a little bit of anger, frustration and impatience for what is happening on the pitch, as he’s on the bench, it’s clear he’s unhappy that he’s not playing and feels a great sense of desperation.”
As the City dominance put them in to a four-goal lead by half-time, Ronaldo sitting alongside fellow ex-Real Madrid star Casemiro, was seen with his head in hands, a tell-tale sign of his growing frustration.
“Ronaldo also puts his head in his hands which is a classic sign of frustration. It’s also a self-reassurance gesture indicating an increase in the level of frustration and impatience that is growing within him,” he added.
“I think Ronaldo is thinking there is potentially some sort of agenda why he continues to be placed on the bench and not on the pitch at crucial moments. So overall, Ronaldo is not a happy player and I predict this will happen for many games this year. Ronaldo has increasingly seemed very impatient, frustrated and angry in recent months.”
Speaking after the full-time whistle, former United skipper Roy Keane blasted Ten Hag, accusing the Dutchman of disrespecting Ronaldo by not allowing him to leave in the summer. “I think United are just showing disrespect to Ronaldo, he should’ve been let go before the end of the transfer window.
“The manager said he’s holding onto him. Okay, you need options but you don’t keep hold of Ronaldo to sit on the bench. He’s one of the greatest players ever, this idea that he had no options – that’s rubbish.
“He had options, he had four, five good options. The manager brought on (Anthony) Martial who scored two but generally speaking, the bigger picture, he’s not going to play Ronaldo, we’ve seen him play a few European games, it’s just going to get uglier as the season goes on.”