Reactions to Cristiano Ronaldo’s ‘explosive’ interview with Piers Morgan

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Weeks after being dropped by Manchester United for refusing to come on as a substitute against Tottenham, Cristiano Ronaldo has dramatically broken his silence by giving his side of the story about life at Old Trafford. 

Speaking in a 90-minute interview to be broadcast this week on TalkTV’s Piers Morgan Uncensored show, the 37-year-old revealed that he feels “betrayed” by the way he’s been treated by the Premier League club and also spoke out against current United manager Erik ten Hag and former team-mate Wayne Rooney. 

The Portugal star, who will captain his country at the Fifa World Cup in Qatar, has given “by far” his “most explosive” interview, Morgan wrote in The Sun. Ronaldo “has had enough” – he’s had enough of “the sniping, the sneering, and the endless blame-game bulls*** that’s been flung at him over the past few months”. 

The fans “should know the truth”, Ronaldo told the presenter. “I want the best for the club”, but “nothing has changed” and there has been “no evolution” since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013. “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.”

Ten Hag ‘doesn’t show respect for me’

Now in his second spell at United, Ronaldo returned in August 2021 after nine seasons at Spanish giants Real Madrid and three in Italy with Juventus. First departing in 2009, the forward’s future once again looked likely to be away from Old Trafford after United missed out on the Champions League, but he failed to secure a move in the summer transfer window. 

This season has been a turbulent one for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner and he was dropped by Ten Hag after his refusal to come on against Spurs. Ronaldo admits that he does not respect the Dutch coach because “he doesn’t show respect for me”. 

Other United officials, past and present, to be on the receiving end of Ronaldo’s ire include ex-boss Ralf Rangnick, who he had “never heard” of, and former team-mate Wayne Rooney, who Ronaldo said had criticised him “probably because he finished his career and I’m still playing”. 

Breaking Fergie’s ‘golden rule’

Ronaldo’s explosive interview has “shocked the football world”, said Max Mathews in the Daily Mail. In speaking out “so publicly against his current employers”, Ronaldo has also broken legendary former boss Ferguson’s “golden rule” – that “no player can be bigger than the manager”.

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville, who played with Ronaldo at United, had previously called for the relationship between the player and club to end. United are a “better team without him”, Neville said, they score “more goals without him” and they win “more points without him”. Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, Neville’s Sky Sports colleague, tweeted that “99% of United fans” will be on the side of Ten Hag, which shows “how badly Ronaldo has handled this”.

Andy Mitten, who is the editor of the United We Stand magazine, told BBC Radio 5 Live that Ronaldo has not been forced out, he “wanted to leave in the summer and thought he was leaving, but there was a shortage of suitors”. Ronaldo has done an interview that’s “his version of the truth” and there’s “often more than one version of the truth in life”. Mitten doesn’t think United fans would be “hugely concerned” if he didn’t play for the club again.

Piers Morgan Uncensored: 90 Minutes with Ronaldo will be shown over two nights on TalkTV at 8pm on Wednesday and Thursday.

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