(Reuters) — Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo says the club have betrayed him and he is being sent off, saying he has no respect for manager Erik ten Hag.
Ronaldo rejoined Manchester United from Juventus for a second spell at Old Trafford in August 2021 on a two-year deal, returning to the club where he won eight major trophies between 2003 and 2009.
In an interview with Piers Morgan for TalkTV, published on Sunday, Ronaldo was asked if the United hierarchy was trying to remove him from the club.
“Yes, not just the coach (Ten Hag), but two or three other guys around the club. I felt betrayed,” he said.
“Yeah, I feel betrayed, and I felt like some people don’t want me here, not just this year, but last year as well.”
Manchester United respond: Our focus remains on preparing for the second half of the season
This Monday, the Manchester United club issued a statement regarding Ronaldo’s statements.
“Manchester United takes note of the media coverage of an interview with Cristiano Ronaldo,” says the team in the brief statement in which they limit themselves to saying that they are aware of the statements and that they will give a response “once they have been established all the facts.”
“Our focus remains on preparing for the second half of the season and continuing the momentum, belief and togetherness that is being built between the players, coach, staff and fans.”
Last month, Ten Hag said Ronaldo refused to come on as a substitute against Tottenham Hotspur when the striker walked through the tunnel with a few minutes left in the game after being left on the bench.
The team then said he would not be part of the squad that faced Chelsea the following Saturday.
The 37-year-old striker, who will captain Portugal at the World Cup in Qatar, said of Ten Hag: “I don’t respect him because he doesn’t respect me. If he doesn’t respect me, I’ll never have respect for you.”
United did not immediately respond when contacted by Reuters for comment. After the Tottenham game, Ten Hag said Ronaldo was still “an important player in the team.”
Ronaldo said Manchester United did not support him when his daughter was taken to hospital in July. He said the club doubted him and showed a lack of empathy when he didn’t show up for pre-season training on time.
“I think the fans should know the truth,” he said.
“I want the best for the club. That’s why I came to Manchester United.”
“But you have some things inside that don’t help (us) get to the top level like City, Liverpool and even now Arsenal… a club with this size should be at the top of the tree in my opinion and they are not, unfortunately. Ronaldo added.
Ronaldo’s first spell was with former United manager Alex Ferguson, who retired in 2013. The Portuguese said Ferguson shares his vision for the club.
“There was zero progress. Since Sir Alex (Ferguson) left, I haven’t seen any progress at the club. Nothing had changed,” Ronaldo said.
“He knows better than anyone that the club is not going the way it deserves.
“He knows. Everyone knows. People who don’t see that… it’s because they don’t want to see, they’re blind.”
Ronaldo also criticized the club’s decision last season to replace coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Portuguese’s former teammate, with Ralf Rangnick.
Rangnick had left his post as head of sport and development at Russian team Lokomotiv Moscow to take over at Old Trafford.
“After the club fired Ole, they brought in the sporting director Ralf Rangnick, which is something nobody understands,” Ronaldo said.
“This guy, he’s not even a coach. A great club like Manchester United brings a sporting director who not only surprised me but the whole world”.