The Independent

‘I feel betrayed’: Ronaldo says he’s being forced out


Cristiano Ronaldo says he feels “betrayed” by Manchester United and has “no respect” for manager Erik ten Hag.

In excerpts of a 90-minute interview with Piers Morgan published last night, following Manchester United’s last game for six weeks, Ronaldo claimed Ten Hag tried to force him to

leave this summer and hit out at the club’s lack of progress since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Ronaldo was subject of speculatio­n over whether he would be leaving Old Trafford during the most recent transfer window after missing United’s pre-season tour to Thailand and Australia because of personal reasons.

After a poor start to the season Ronaldo was dropped to the bench by Ten Hag but he then refused to come on as a substitute and stormed down the tunnel during a victory against Tottenham last month.

It was not the first time this season Ronaldo had left a match early and Ten Hag responded by banishing him from the firstteam squad for one match. The Portugal star later returned to the squad, although played no part in their two matches before the World Cup. United said he was unavailabl­e due to illness.

However the timing of Ronaldo’s extraordin­ary attack suggests the 37-year-old believes he has played his last game for the club, with United’s hierarchy previously supporting Ten Hag’s decision to drop Ronaldo following his previous act of illdiscipl­ine.

Ten Hag said Ronaldo’s actions had clashed with the “standards and values” he wanted his players to follow, while the Dutchman warned that there would be “consequenc­es” if the behaviour was repeated.

But when asked by Morgan about his relationsh­ip with Ten Hag, who was appointed this summer from Ajax, Ronaldo was unrelentin­g with his answer. “I don’t have respect for him because he doesn’t show respect for me,” he said. “If you don’t have respect for me, I’m never gonna have respect for you.”

Then, when asked by Morgan whether United and Ten Hag had tried to make him leave this summer, Ronaldo said: “Yes, not only the coach but the other two or three guys – they’re around the club.” When pressed further, Ronaldo said: “Yes, I feel betrayed. And I felt that some people, they don’t want me here. Not only this year, but last year too.”

Ronaldo returned to Manchester United last summer, 11 years after leaving the club to sign for Real Madrid as the world’s most expensive player, but the club suffered their worst ever Premier League season and failed to qualify for the Champions League.

United had sacked manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer mid-season, replacing Ronaldo’s former teammate with interim coach Ralf Rangnick. In a further part of the interview, Ronaldo was highly critical of how the club is run and how little things had changed at Old Trafford since his first spell at the club.

Ronaldo told Morgan: “I don’t know what’s going on but since Sir Alex Ferguson left I saw no evolution in the club, the progress was zero. For example we have an interestin­g point that, how the club as Manchester United after [they] sack Ole, they buy – they bring, sports director Ralf Rangnick, which is something that nobody understand­s. This guy is not even a coach. A bigger club like Manchester United brings [a] sports director – surprised not only me but all the world, you know.

“Nothing changed. Surprising­ly. Not only the pool, the jacuzzi, even the gym… Even some points, the technology, the kitchen, the chefs, which is, I appreciate, lovely persons. They stopped in a time, which surprised me a lot. I thought I will see different things… different, as I mentioned before, technology, infrastruc­ture. But unfortunat­ely, we see many things that I used to see, when I was 20, 21, 23. So, it surprised me a lot.”

Ronaldo also hit out at former United teammate Wayne Rooney over criticism he had received for refusing to come on against Tottenham. Writing in The Sun newspaper, Morgan revealed Ronaldo said: “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. I’m not going to say that I’m looking better than him. Which is true…”

Back in August, Ronaldo hit out at “lies” that were being reported in the media about his future and vowed to tell “the truth” in an interview. Ronaldo’s behaviour has also been criticised by former United teammate and Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville, who was blanked by the Portuguese at a recent Manchester United match. According to Rio Ferdinand, another former member of the United dressing room, Ronaldo’s relationsh­ip with Neville is now “gone” following his return to the club.

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 ?? (Getty I mages) ?? Cristiano Rona l do to l d Piers Morgan that he has ‘no respect’ for United manager Erik ten Hag
(Getty I mages) Cristiano Rona l do to l d Piers Morgan that he has ‘no respect’ for United manager Erik ten Hag
 ?? (Getty I mages) ?? Ron al do’s last appearance for United was a 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa last weekend
(Getty I mages) Ron al do’s last appearance for United was a 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa last weekend
 ?? (Getty I mages) ?? Rona l do said of Rangnick: ‘This guy is not even a coach’
(Getty I mages) Rona l do said of Rangnick: ‘This guy is not even a coach’

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