t became clear as Erling Haaland, Phil Foden and Manchester City wiped the floor with Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, despite the phenomenal football from one side and the significant bump down to earth for the other, that Cristiano Ronaldo would once again be the story.
The Sky Sports cameras were drawn to the striker's frustrated, gloomy face and folded arms as he sat and remained on the United bench. Transfer rumours have taken the path of least resistance since with United now reportedly willing to see the back of him in January.
The buzzwords in the wake of the snub have been 'respect' and its antonym. Manager Erik ten Hag claimed he had left Ronaldo on the bench "out of respect for his big career", but both Roy Keane and Graeme Souness believe the goalscorer has been shown the opposite through not being allowed to leave the club and then left on the sidelines.
But while they argue over whether the club and manager have been respectful to Ronaldo or not, those pundits appear to have forgotten a golden rule they have no doubt repeated like a mantra in the past – 'No player is bigger than the club'.
'This is Manchester United!' is as close to a catchphrase as Keane will ever come, so why is it that he has so willingly brushed Ronaldo's summer misdemeanors under the carpet? Respect is a two-way street and Ronaldo has shown Manchester United – a club he owes an awful lot to – very little of it.