By Oisin Coyne
Only days before the kickoff of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Cristiano Ronaldo hogs the front page by taking part in a controversial interview with British Television host Piers Morgan.
Ronaldo has used this interview as a platform to outline his frustration regarding his treatment at Manchester United following the appointment of manager Erik Ten Haag and criticizes the clubs lack of progression and unprofessionalism of his teammates.
The 37-year-old desired to leave Old Trafford during the Summer transfer window but couldn’t get a deal over the line and has struggled to establish a positive relationship with his new coach.
As a result of Ronaldo’s explosive interview, United issued a statement on Nov 18, saying: ”Manchester United has this morning initiated appropriate steps in response to Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent media interview. We will not be making further comment until this process reaches its conclusion.”
Relationship with Erik Ten Haag
Ronaldo feels that he has been disrespected by his new manager, and was left frustrated following his suspension from the first team squad earlier in the season. This suspension was a result of the forward leaving the pitch in the 88th minute during United’s home fixture against Spurs.
“The coach didn’t have respect for me. So this is why the relationship, it’s in that way,” Ronaldo said.
“He keep saying in the press that he come to me, he like me blah, blah, blah, but that is only for the press, 100 per cent. If you don’t have respect for me, I’m never going to have respect for you.”
Ronaldo on Manchester United’s progress
Cristiano showcased his brutal honesty when asked about his return to Manchester United since last season.
“At United, the progress was zero, in my opinion,” Ronaldo said.
“To compare with Real Madrid and even Juventus, that they follow the rest of the world, so the technology, especially in terms of training, nutrition and conditioning, eat properly and to recover better than before – surprised me.
“Manchester right now to compare with that club, I think it’s behind in my opinion, which is something that surprised me. A club with this dimension should be the top of the three in my opinion and they are not, unfortunately. They are not in that level. But I hope the next years they can reach to be in a top level.
“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.”
Ronaldo on World Cup 2022 in Qatar
The forward will play in his fifth World Cup this Winter, and confirmed this will definitely be his last if Portugal were to lift the title.
“Yes. Retired. 100 per cent,” he said when asked if he would retire if Portugal won.
“I am very optimistic. We [Portugal] have a fantastic coach and we have a good generation of football players. I’m looking forward that we’re going to it, an amazing World Cup.
“It’s going be tough. Extremely difficult. But everything is possible. But of course, we’re going to compete.
“All the national teams, all the people, [they need to be] welcomed in Qatar, and I see a good tournament, to be honest. I think Qatar; they are prepared. They are prepared for that, and it will be weird to play in the beginning of the season. Yes. But in the same way, a challenge. I think it’s, to be honest, good. I feel good. I feel with good energy.”
Ronaldo outlines his retirement plans
Cristiano may retire from international duty following this World Cup but intends to play club football until the age of 40 if everything goes to plan.
“I want to play two years more, three years more. So, two or three years maximum. I want to finish at 40. I think 40 will be a good age… but I don’t know, I don’t know the future,” he said.
“Sometimes you plan one thing for your life and as I said many times, the life is dynamic, and you never know what’s going to happen.”
Ronaldo on his future at Manchester United
When asked if he’d still be a Man United player on January 1, Ronaldo replied: “It’s difficult to tell right now, because my mood is, right now, focused on the World Cup. It’s probably my last World Cup, of course, my fifth World Cup.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen after the World Cup, but as I told you before, and I will say again, the fans will always be in my heart. And I hope they will be by my side, even if I come back, or if I’m not back, or if I stay or whatever.”
“When I arrived at Manchester United, I always wanted to be available to help the team and to do the good things, to put them in the right spots, to compete with the best teams. But it’s hard when they cut your legs and they don’t like you to shine, and they don’t listen to your advice.”