CRISTIANO RONALDO was brutally axed in front of the whole Manchester United squad during a two-hour summit meeting.
Boss Erik ten Hag called the players together last Thursday and urged them to air any grievances without the threat of repercussions.
During the clear-the-air session Ten Hag told Ronaldo and captain Harry Maguire they would not be starting against Liverpool on Monday.
Ronaldo, 37, did not speak but a number of players had their say, while the manager laid down the law to his under-performers.
They then beat Liverpool 2-1.
Ten Hag is sick of the Ronaldo circus that threatens to undermine his rebuilding job.
He was particularly angry last week after the Portuguese superstar promised he would soon deliver a tell-all interview.
Now Ten Hag just wants the forward out, while a number of players feel Ronaldo’s attitude and mood is affecting spirit in the camp.
The United boss told his players it is his way or the highway in the no-nonsense address to the squad.
The boss invited everyone to have their say at the training ground last week as he tried to get to the bottom of why they had performed so poorly in the opening two games.
In a two-hour showdown, Ten Hag gave every player the opportunity to say whatever they wanted about the state of the club.
But he insisted on going first.
The Dutchman told the players that he had the full backing of the United board to do everything his way.
If anyone did not like it or did not want to play for him, they were invited to tell him there and then – and they were free to leave the club.
He said they all had to be on the same page and play football the way he wanted.
The former Ajax coach said he would not have his underperforming stars ruining his reputation.
He invited the players to then speak up in front of the squad to air their own grievances which a number did.
Marcus Rashford is understood to have asked when he would play him as a No 9 as he had told him he would in pre-season.
It was then that Ten Hag told him he would get his chance the following Monday against Liverpool.
Rashford, 24, responded with his best game in some time in the middle of a front three with Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga wide of him.
He switched to a wide position at the start of the second half when Anthony Martial replaced Elanga and the pair combined for Rashford to score.
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Ten Hag made four changes to the team from the 4-0 defeat at Brentford informing both Ronaldo and Maguire during the meeting that they were out.
The captain’s armband was given to Bruno Fernandes.
The previous weekend Ten Hag had cancelled the players’ day off hauling them in for a brutal 13.8km run which he took part in as well.
That impressed the group – many of whom had been angry at the cancellation of their day off.
Ten Hag said last Friday that he wanted them to be angry and to channel that anger into their performances.
His words and actions had the desired effect as United beat Liverpool 2-1 on Monday.
It is understood training in the days following Thursday’s team meeting was on another level to what had gone before.