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Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo says he feels “betrayed” by the club, does not respect manager Erik ten Hag and is being forced out.
Ronaldo, 37, promised in August he would give his version of life at Old Trafford after failing to secure a move to a club playing in the Champions League, as he had hoped.
He has now spoken out in an interview with Piers Morgan for TalkTV.
A Manchester United statement said the club had “noted the media coverage”.
In extracts from the wide-ranging interview – published in the Sun, Ronaldo said:
- People at the club were trying to force him out.
- There had been “no evolution” at the club since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure in 2013, and the Scot agreed United were “not on the path they deserve to be”.
- The club showed a lack of “empathy” when his young daughter was hospitalised in July.
- He had “never heard” of previous manager Ralf Rangnick.
- He did not know why former team-mate Wayne Rooney criticised him, adding: “Probably because he finished his career and I’m still playing.”
The interview will be shown over two nights on Wednesday and Thursday.
Asked by Morgan if United’s hierarchy were trying to force him out, Ronaldo said: “Yes, not only the coach, but another two or three guys around the club. I felt betrayed.”
Pushed as to whether senior club executives were trying to oust him, he added: “People should listen to the truth. Yes, I felt betrayed and I felt like some people don’t want me here, not only this year but last year too.”
The Red Devils, who beat Fulham 2-1 on Sunday, are fifth in the Premier League in Ten Hag’s first season as manager.
“The club will consider its response after the full facts have been established,” United said in a statement on Monday.
“Our focus remains on preparing for the second half of the season and continuing the momentum, belief and togetherness being built among the players, manager, staff and fans.”
Ronaldo says he has no ‘respect’ for Ten Hag
Ronaldo has not played because of an unspecified illness since he captained United in their 3-1 defeat at Aston Villa on 6 November.
He was dropped for the Premier League game at Chelsea last month by Ten Hag after refusing to come on as a substitute against Tottenham three days earlier.
“I don’t have respect for him because he doesn’t show respect for me,” Ronaldo said. “If you don’t have respect for me, I’m never gonna have respect for you.”
Ronaldo also spoke about the loss of his baby son in April and how touched he was by a tribute paid to him by Liverpool fans at a game against United at Anfield in the days afterwards.
The whole interview is 90 minutes long but Morgan has written a version for the Sun in which it is clear the contempt Ronaldo has for how he has found United since he returned to the club amid huge fanfare in August 2021.
“I think the fans should know the truth,” he said. “I want the best for the club. This is why I come to Manchester United.”
Ronaldo said he had seen “no evolution” at the club since former manager Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
“Nothing had changed,” he said. “I love Manchester United. I love the fans, they’re always on my side. But if they want to do it different… they have to change many, many things.”
Ronaldo said his view of the club was shared by Ferguson, who was pivotal in his return to Old Trafford from Juventus when it appeared he might join Manchester City.
“He knows better than anybody that the club is not on the path they deserve to be,” added Ronaldo.
“He knows. Everyone knows. The people who don’t see that… it’s because they don’t want to see; they are blind.”
Ronaldo had not ‘heard’ of Rangnick
Ronaldo’s former team-mate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was United manager when the Portuguese returned to the club before he was succeeded by Ralf Rangnick and then Ten Hag.
Rangnick left his role as head of sports and development at Lokomotiv Moscow to take up the job. He had previously built his reputation during his time in Germany, with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and former Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel speaking highly about their compatriot.
On Rangnick, Ronaldo said: “If you’re not even a coach, how are you going to be the boss of Manchester United? I’d never even heard of him.”
Ronaldo also responded to criticism from former United team-mate Wayne Rooney about his behaviour this season.
“I don’t know why he criticises me so badly… probably because he finished his career and I’m still playing at a high level,” said Ronaldo.
“I’m not going to say that I’m looking better than him. Which is true…”
‘An interview that is his version of the truth’ – reaction
Match of the Day 2 pundits Jermaine Jenas and Jermain Defoe both criticised Ronaldo for his comments.
“We have seen nothing but petulance throughout the season, with the walking down the tunnel,” Jenas said.
“He’s a frustrated player, whether he feels like he’s been lied to or what, today just doesn’t feel right to me. It’s not going to help him and he has to be done at the club.”
Defoe added: “I think it’s quite disappointing to be honest, he has nothing to prove so I can’t understand why he would want to put his point across. Maybe his ego is dented a little bit.”
Former England defender and Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher said the majority of United fans would side with Ten Hag.
“He wants to be sacked, I think that’s obvious,” he told Sky Sports News.
“I think he’s disrespecting Man United and Erik ten Hag. I think he’s now basically trying to be sacked or allowed to leave on a free by the club because that’s the only way he’s going to get out.”
Andy Mitten, editor of United We Stand magazine, told BBC Radio 5 Live: “He’s not been forced out. He wanted to leave in the summer and thought he was leaving, but there was a shortage of suitors.
“He has done an interview that’s his version of the truth and there’s often more than one version of the truth in life.
“I don’t think United fans would be hugely concerned if he didn’t play for the club again.”
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