The Manchester United and Portugal icon Cristiano Ronaldo sat down with Piers Morgan on Uncensored for TalkTV and gave his most explosive interview to date, as he expressed feeling ‘betrayed’ by the Red Devils. He also said he felt no respect from the Man United manager, Erik ten Hag and believes he is being forced out of the club.
Earlier this year, Ronaldo, 37, said he would detail his life at Old Trafford after the side failed to reach the UEFA Champions League for the 2022/23 season. The interview was shown on 16 and 17 November 2022 and the winner of 32 trophies covered a number of topics including being ‘forced out’ of Old Trafford; the club showing a lack of ‘empathy’ when his young daughter was taken ill in July and that he had ‘never heard’ of United’s previous manager Ralf Rangnick.
Following the release of the interview, a statement from Manchester United has now declared that Old Trafford and Ronaldo have parted ways and the striker is now a free agent.
What is happening at Manchester United?
This season, United have won eight of their 14 matches, and Ronaldo has found himself on the sidelines. The 37-year-old has played just 10 of these 14 fixtures, featuring for only 520 minutes, and famously walked out of the stadium before the end of the game against Tottenham Hotspur in outrage at substitution decisions.
His actions in October then fractured his relationship with ten Hag even further and he was benched for the next fixture against Chelsea. In his 10 fixtures, Ronaldo has also only scored once and provided no assists. He has however scored twice and provided two assists in the UEFA Europa League campaign.
At present, Ronaldo’s contract will see him at United until June 2023 with the option to extend for an additional year but as reports emerged of his desire to leave Manchester in the summer, it is likely the five time Ballon d’Or winner will search for a home elsewhere either in January or next summer.
Where will Ronaldo go after United?
According to SkyBet, Chelsea are the current front runners to pick up the Portuguese Euro 2016 winner. The Blues were linked with a summer move and may well take up the opportunity of trying again this January. Ronaldo’s first club, Sporting CP are also among the favourites with a move to the Major League Soccer high up on the odds list as well:
- Chelsea - 9/4
- Sporting - 7/4
- Any MLS Club - 4/1
- Bayern Munich - 7/1
- Napoli - 14/1
- PSG - 8/1
What have Manchester United said?
In a statement released by the club, United have said: “The club thanks him for his immense contribution across two spells at Old Trafford.” Old Trafford wished “him and his family well for the future” adding “everyone at Manchester United remains focused on continuing the team’s progress under Erik ten Hag and working together to deliver success on the pitch.”
Ronaldo delivered his own statement saying: “Following conversations with Manchester United we have mutually agreed to end our contract early. I love Manchester United and I love the fans, that will never ever change. However, it feels like the right time for me to seek a new challenge. I wish the team every success for the remainder of the season and for the future.”
What was said in the interview?
In his Uncensored interview with Morgan, Ronaldo speaks of his own story about what he calls the “most difficult period of my life”, both at home and at work. He says he feels “betrayed” by the way United have treated him and feels he’s been made a “black sheep” who is now blamed for everything that has gone wrong.
Speaking on his former coach, Ralf 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” and of his current coach, the Portuguese star was hardly more favourable: “I don’t have respect for him because he doesn’t show respect for me. If you don’t have respect for me, I’m never going to have respect for you.”
The interview also touches on Ronaldo’s former colleague, Wayne Rooney’s comments on the striker. The England legend has publicly attacked Ronaldo for months and Ronaldo has now responded saying: “I don’t know why he criticises me so badly... probably because he finished his career and I’m still playing at high level. I’m not going to say that I’m looking better than him. Which is true...”
Morgan and Ronaldo then discussed the heartbreaking loss of their baby son during childbirth in which the boy’s twin sister survived. Following the tragedy, he received support from fans of rival clubs, such as Liverpool where the fans sang You’ll Never Walk Alone in the seventh minute (Ronaldo’s shirt number) in their next home game. He said: “I never expected to see that.” However, he then went on to say he was far less supported by his own club who he accuses of a lack of “empathy”. Ronaldo says senior executives at United doubted him when he explained why he couldnt’ return, making him feel “hurt” and “bad”.
Returning to Manchester United was driven by an appeal from his former boss and mentor, Sir Alex Ferguson: “I followed by heart. He (Sir Alex) said to me, it’ impossible for you to come to Manchester City, and I said Ok, boss.” However the reality soon hit and Ronaldo says: “The progress was zero. Since Sir Alex left, I saw no evolution in the club. Nothing had changed.
“I think the fans should know the truth. I want the best for the club. This is why I come to Manchester United. But you have some things that don’t help (us) reach the top level as City, Liverpool and now even Arsenal... a club with this dimension should be top of the tree in my opinion and they are not unfortunately. As Picasso said, you have to destroy it to rebuild it, and if they start with me, for me it’s not a problem.
“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. (Sir Alex) knows better than anybody that the club is not on the path they deserve to be. He knows. Everyone knows. The people who don’t see that...it’s because they don’t want to see; they are blind.”
The end of the interview then turns to the upcoming World Cup and he wants to “win it for Portgual” and Ronaldo adds that whatever happens, his heart will always be with the club and especially its fans: “They are always on my side. I feel that every time when I got out, when I walk in the streets, the fans come up to me and they appreciate what I do for football. The fans for me everything. This is why I give this interview, because I think it’s the right time to speak my mind.”