Cristiano Ronaldo in an explosive interview criticised Manchester United and Erik ten Hag; Ronaldo said: “Yes, I feel betrayed. Some people don’t want me here not only this year, but last year too”; on Ten Hag: “I don’t have respect for him because he doesn’t show respect for me”
In an interview with Piers Morgan for TalkTV released by The Sun on Sunday night, Ronaldo also claimed there has been “zero progress” at the club since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in the summer of 2013.
When asked if United’s hierarchy were trying to force him out of the club, Ronaldo said: “Yes. Not only the coach, but the other two or three guys around the club. I felt betrayed.”
When quizzed again if senior club executives were trying to oust him, the 37-year-old replied: “Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t care. People should hear the truth. Yes, I feel betrayed. Some people don’t want me here not only this year, but last year too.
“I don’t know what’s going on. Since Sir Alex Ferguson left I have seen not evolution in the club. The progress was zero.
“For example, an interesting point is how a club like Manchester United sacked Ole (Gunnar Solskjaer), they bring in a sporting director Ralf Rangnick which is something nobody understands. This guy is not even a coach! A big club like Manchester United bringing in a sporting director surprised not only me but all the world.
“Nothing changes. Not only the jacuzzi, the pool, even the gym. Even some points of technology, the kitchen, the chefs – who I appreciate, lovely people! They stop in time which surprised me a lot.
“I thought I would see different things, technology, infrastructure. Unfortunately, we see many things I’m used to seeing when I’m 21, 22, 23. It surprised me a lot.”
Ronaldo also said of Ten Hag: “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 gonna have respect for you.”
Ronaldo, who re-joined United in August 2021 and finished as their top scorer in all competitions last season with 24 goals, asked to leave the club in the summer.
“I think the fans should know the truth,” the Portugal international added. “I want the best for the club. This is why I come to Manchester United.
“But you have some things inside that don’t help [us] reach the top level as City, Liverpool and even now 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 [the artist’s exact quote was: ‘Every act of creation is first an act of destruction’] 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.”
Ronaldo was also critical of former United team-mate Wayne Rooney after the Englishman said he is in danger of becoming an “unwanted distraction” at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo said of Rooney: “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…”
Ronaldo, who recently captained United in their 3-1 defeat at Aston Villa, also revealed how former boss Ferguson persuaded him to return to the club last summer.
“I followed my heart,” the five-time Ballon d’Or winner said. “He [Sir Alex] said to me, ‘It’s impossible for you to come to Manchester City’, and I said, ‘OK, boss’.”
Asked what Ferguson thinks of United’s current situation, Ronaldo added: “He 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.”