Hours before Cristiano Ronaldo’s much-anticipated interview with Piers Morgan aired, Manchester United hung a huge mural outside Old Trafford that featured a picture of the Portuguese superstar. Surely they knew what was coming.
Cristiano Ronaldo sweeps Manchester United
Few at United were spared the scathing condemnation of the club, delivered by Ronaldo in the first part of a 90-minute interview aired on TalkTV on Wednesday.
Past and current teammates. Former managers. The people who run the club. They all got a lecture from one of the biggest sports stars in the world. His days at are surely numbered.
Ronaldo feels “betrayed” – and criticizes Erik ten Hag
Excerpts from the interview had already been published on Sunday, including excerpts in which Ronaldo said he felt “betrayed” by United and that he didn’t respect manager Erik ten Hag.
Here are some of the other key bits of the inflammatory interview that was broadcast four days before the start of the World Cup – likely Ronaldo’s last – in Qatar.
Cristiano Ronaldo: Shortly before moving to Man City
Ronaldo said he was close to leaving for Manchester City before rejoining United in August last year. “It was close, it was close…they tried everything to get me,” Ronaldo said of City and their manager Pep Guardiola. “But as you know, with my Manchester United past, it’s the heart, the feeling, the history that you made before that makes the difference.”
Ronaldo added that talking to Sir Alex Ferguson, who was a manager at United early on, influenced him. “I spoke to him – he said, ‘It’s impossible for you to come to Manchester City,’” Ronaldo said. “I said, ‘Okay, boss.’”
Manchester United ‘frozen in time’
Ronaldo said he quickly realized that United hadn’t evolved since their first successful stint there (2003-2009). “When I arrived I thought everything would be different – the technology, the infrastructure, everything,” he said. “I was surprised, in a bad way. I saw that everything was the same.” Ronaldo said he was also surprised United hadn’t attracted a better player after signing. He said the club was ‘frozen in time’
“I knew Manchester United wasn’t the same anymore but I didn’t think it was such a big gap…in the last 10 years.” He said progress at United has been ‘zero’ compared to his two previous clubs, Real Madrid and Juventus.
Cristiano Ronaldo mocks Ralf Rangnick
Ronaldo has criticized United’s decision to sign Ralf Rangnick as interim manager following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. “This guy isn’t even a coach,” Ronaldo said. “That a big club like Manchester United bring in a sporting director not only surprises me, but the whole world.” He agreed with Morgan’s assessment that it was a “ridiculous decision” and claimed he had never heard of Rangnick. “Of course not,” he said. “Deep down, I never saw him as a boss.” Ronaldo blamed the club’s “structure” for the decision to hire someone like Rangnick.
Young players at Man United are ‘not hungry’
Ronaldo said he was surprised United’s youngsters weren’t following his example. “They listen to one thing and in two minutes they’ve already forgotten it and are doing what they think is better,” he said. Without naming names, Ronaldo said: “They don’t care”. “Some, yes,” he said. “But most, no. But that’s not surprising to me because I don’t think they’re going to have a long career. It’s impossible.” Ronaldo went on to say that Diogo Dalot, Lisandro Martinez and Casemiro are exceptions at United.
Ronaldo received letter of condolence from British royal family
Ronaldo announced in April that one of his newborn twins had died and he told Morgan it was one of the hardest times of his life. He thanked the English public for the support he received during this period and said he even received a letter from the British royal family expressing their condolences.
Wayne Rooney ‘hurt’ Ronaldo
Ronaldo said he was hurt by criticism from former United team-mate Wayne Rooney in the media. It wasn’t long ago that the former England striker stopped by his house to pick up his children. Was it jealousy, Morgan asked? “Probably,” replied the 37-year-old Ronaldo. “Because he retired when he was 30 and I’m still playing at a high level. I won’t say I’m better looking than him – which is true, but…” Ronaldo added: “It’s hard to take that criticism and Hearing negativity from people who played with you.”
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