GARY NEVILLE believes Cristiano Ronaldo should be a leader to Manchester United’s young players as he continues to seek a move away.
The 37-year-old remains keen to depart Old Trafford in his quest to play Champions League football.
After missing the Red Devils’ pre-season tour of Asia and Australia due to “family reasons”, Ronaldo returned to action against Rayo Vallecano last week.
But he left ten minutes before the final whistle in the friendly clash, with fans believing it was a last-ditch attempt at forcing a move away.
Boss Erik ten Hag was left fuming by the incident, as he insisted that it was “unacceptable”.
Neville recently called on United to flog Ronaldo for the good of the club.
And speaking on Sky Sports after Arsenal’s 2-0 win at Crystal Palace on Friday night, Neville was critical of his former team-mate.
He said: “Is it too much to ask over the next 12 months for him to encourage the young players, be a leader on the pitch.
“Do the interviews when your team win and when your team lose, make sure you set the standards that he always does in training in terms of his performance.
“Score the goals, and let everybody let him leave Manchester with the highest thoughts.
“This is messy for him, this is messy for the club, this is messy for everybody.
“We want him to stay, we’re desperate for him to stay. We just don’t like these sagas that drag on.
“They never look good, they always look a little bit sort of distasteful. And I think it needs clarifying, it needs sorting out quite quickly.
“We can’t have this going on for another three weeks if you’re a Manchester United fan, and certainly if you’re Erik ten Hag.
“He does need to be able to concentrate on the whole team, on his performance, on the tactical way of playing.
“He doesn’t want to be distracted all the time by the star player – ‘Is he going to stay, is he going to go?’”
Despite uncertainty surround his future, Ronaldo could still start against Brighton on Sunday with striker Anthony Martial ruled out due to injury.