The world’s attention was drawn to Manchester United’s star player, Cristiano Ronaldo, after he claimed in an explosive interview with Piers Morgan on Sunday that he feels “betrayed” by the Premier League giants and that manager Erik ten Hag and other senior executives are trying to force him out of the club.
Since Ten Hag became United’s manager in May, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has played only a supporting role.
Ronaldo was punished for declining to play as a substitute in a 2-0 victory over Tottenham last month, but he has since made a comeback. Last weekend, in a 3-1 loss at Aston Villa, he even captained the Red Devils.
The 37-year-old was not present for United’s final game before a six-week break for the World Cup, a 2-1 victory over Fulham on Sunday.
“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.”
Now the club has responded to the interview. “Manchester United notes the media coverage regarding an interview by Cristiano Ronaldo. The club will consider its response after the full facts have been established,” the club said in a statement.
“Our focus remains on preparing for the second half of the season and continuing the momentum, belief and togetherness being built among the players, manager, staff, and fans.”
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. 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 Premier League and failed to qualify for the Champions League.
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, I saw no evolution in the club. Nothing had changed,” said Ronaldo on what he found on his return to 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.”
United are fifth in the Premier League, 11 points behind leaders Arsenal.