Before we go any further, let’s clarify a few points: Cristiano Ronaldo is a phenomenal footballer, one of the greatest players of all time, and has won nearly every award a footballer can win..
But, if there was an award for having the best attitude and level of respect in football, Ronaldo would not be in the running following the conclusion of his explosive interview with Piers Morgan on Thursday evening. Ronaldo used his sit-down interview with the former Good Morning Britain presenter to fire shots at Manchester United and manager Erik ten Hag, as depicted in the small social media nuggets we saw earlier in the week..
After discussing his failed transfer to Manchester City, Ralf Rangnick’s credibility, and the tragic loss of his baby son in part one, Ronaldo’s comments in part two were far more damning and tasteless when it came to football. For the first time, he opened up about his refusal to come off the bench against Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford last month, delivering an explanation that was not only squeamish but also disrespectful to Ten Hag, despite admitting that he regretted his actions.
“To be honest with you, Piers, I regret leaving the stadium (against Tottenham),” Ronaldo told Piers Morgan Uncensored. “Probably, or maybe not, I’m not sure..
It’s difficult to say for certain, but let’s just say I regret [it], but I also felt provoked by the coach. A coach is not permitted to use me for three minutes in a game. Sorry, but I’m not that type of player. I know exactly what I can offer the team..
“Don’t tell me the top players, the guys who want it all, the key players, will only get three minutes. This is simply unacceptable.”
Ronaldo stated that he is aware of what he can “give the team.” A quick glance at his stats for the season so far shows that he has contributed three goals in 16 games..
Is this the kind of contribution you’d expect from a key player?
One of his three United goals this season was a penalty, and the other was a scruffy, rebounded effort. To be sure, every goal counts, and every footballer is proud of every goal they score, but they were hardly signs that Ronaldo is the pinnacle of this United squad, as he believes.
Part one of Ronaldo’s interview with Morgan detailed how he wants to be a player who can lead by example, almost like an inspirational figure for the next generation of footballers to look up to..
In the next breath, he was discussing how, in the end, he is too good a player to be called upon in the final minutes of a match. It’s not a good example to set.
That is why, as a result of this interview, Ten Hag has gained additional support. The Dutchman has put an end to the player power era at Old Trafford, which almost every fan was sick of by the end of last season, which means the support he has gained for that should not simply vanish because Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner and a figure with 497 million Instagram followers, has tried to throw the cat among the pigeons and put the focus back on him..
It is for this reason that Ten Hag’s post-match analysis of his team’s 2-1 win at Fulham last weekend is so important in this situation and should be remembered. The Dutchman used his final TV interview before the World Cup break to reflect not only on his team’s dramatic win, but also on their progress this season.
“We have a foundation, and we’re moving in the right direction,” Ten Hag told Sky Sports. “There has been a shift in culture, attitude, and mentality.” You saw it today, with the win coming in the final seconds.
“We have unity because of the fans.” “We are one.”
Ronaldo’s bombshell interview, which was released just hours after Ten Hag signed off for the World Cup, confirmed what was already obvious: he is not aligned with Ten Hag’s vision for moving United forward. His conversation with Morgan, which was more of a publicity stunt than an actual interview, provided enough evidence to suggest that his United career is over.
Ten Hag, a strict disciplinarian, will have taken Ronaldo’s comments personally, given that he has overhauled the culture at Old Trafford. The Portuguese international presented himself as someone who believes he is bigger than Manchester United, a club steeped in history, tradition, and high values..
As Sir Alex Ferguson once said, any player who believes they are bigger than the club should be let go. Ronaldo’s time has come to leave..
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