Man United striker Cristiano Ronaldo lashes out at boss Erik ten Hag in an explosive interview; says club hasn’t evolved since Alex Ferguson left in 2013
Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo during their Europa League match against Sheriff recently. Pic/Getty Images
Cristiano Ronaldo said he felt “betrayed” by Manchester United as he claimed manager Erik ten Hag and other senior executives are trying to force him out of the club in an explosive interview on Sunday. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has been a peripheral figure on the field for United since Ten Hag took charge in May.
Ronaldo was disciplined after refusing to come on as a substitute in a 2-0 win over Tottenham last month, but had returned to the side in recent weeks and even captained the Red Devils in a 3-1 loss at Aston Villa last weekend. However, the 37-year-old was absent from the squad in Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Fulham in United’s last match before a six-week break for the World Cup.
Man United boss Erik ten Hag
“I don’t have respect for him because he doesn’t show respect for me,” Ronaldo said of Ten Hag in an interview with the Piers Morgan Uncensored TV show. “Not only the coach, but another two or three guys around the club. I felt betrayed.” When quizzed again if senior club executives were trying to oust him, Ronaldo replied: “Yes, I felt betrayed and I felt like some people don’t want me here, not only this year but last year too.” Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford in August 2021 from Juventus.
Glorious first spell
His first spell at United had been a glorious one under the tutelage of Alex Ferguson, winning three Premier League titles, the Champions League and the first of his Ballon d’Or crowns as the best player in the world. Despite his 24 goals in all competitions last season, United endured a terrible campaign as they finished sixth in the Premiership and failed to qualify for the Champions League.
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Failed transfer attempts
Ronaldo then reportedly tried to engineer an exit before the start of this season, but no agreement could be found with another club. “Since Sir Alex left [in 2013], I saw no evolution in the club. Nothing had changed,” said Ronaldo on what he found on his return to Man United.
“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 [Manchester] 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.” Manchester United are fifth in the Premier League, 11 points behind leaders Arsenal.
Ten Hag hails culture change after Fulham win
For Erik ten Hag, the goal that sent Manchester United into the World Cup break on a high note is the perfect symbol of the progress his team has made in recent months. In the last Premier League game before the tournament in Qatar, substitute Alejandro Garnacho scored a stoppage-time winner that secured a 2-1 victory at Fulham on Sunday as United strengthened its grip on fifth place. “We have a base. We’re going in the right direction, The culture has changed,” Ten Hag said when asked to sum up his first period in charge. “The attitude, the mentality has changed. I think also now we improve our football base. We have got a better mentality and (what) you see today I think is the symbol of it, when you get the win in the last dying seconds of the game.”
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