By Keith Hackett

6th Sep, 2021 | 9:00pm

Hackett digs at Ronaldo as he 'agrees with Richard Keys' after Man United controversy

Cristiano Ronaldo may have got a deliberate yellow card for Portugal to allow him extra time to prepare for his second Man United debut, according to Keith Hackett.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-FIFA and Premier League official revealed players regularly asked him to book them around Christmas time to allow them extra time off.

Ronaldo was shown a yellow card against the Republic of Ireland when he took his shirt off after he scored the winning goal deep into injury time.

That means he was suspended for their following qualifying game against Azerbaijan and was therefore released from international duty early.

Ex-Sky Sports broadcaster Richard Keys suggested on Twitter that the 36-year-old had deliberately got himself booked.

And Hackett agreed with BeIN Sports’ senior football anchor.

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He told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley: “It’s almost as though did the player want to get a yellow card so he could miss his next match and go to Old Trafford? I got that feeling.

“He got a yellow card at the end of the game. But I don’t want to question the player’s integrity.

“Where I used to come across that was at Christmas. Coming up to Christmas some players would almost say ‘If I get another yellow card I’ll get a ban, Keith. Give us a yellow’. Or it was players trying to get sent off so they could have Christmas off.

“‘Come on Keith, I want Christmas off. Give us a yellow or a red. I’ll be happy’.

“I think I would share Richard Keys’ view of this one.”

Ronaldo is now set to make his second United debut against Newcastle United on Saturday.

However, the game kicks off at 3pm and will therefore not be broadcast on UK television.

In other news, Man United have the “new Roy Keane” in their ranks after a deal is agreed.