Cristiano Ronaldo’s accusations of stagnation, betrayal and disrespect

TalkTV gave it the full conversion deadline day treatment. A countdown clock was placed in the lower right corner of the screen, telling viewers how much time remained before they could hear Cristiano Ronaldo’s full voice.

Jeremy Kyle was the latest to do so after finishing his interview with comedian Dom Joly. One last payment of interest came as the minutes passed, and it wasn’t needed. “The first part of that surprise interview will come after that,” Kyle said.

The wait extended three days. The 72-hour run that began on Sunday night teased a global audience with the best parts of Ronaldo’s interview with Piers Morgan, and so intriguing was the content, ensuring that the veteran striker’s days as a Manchester United player would soon be over.

“This is the interview the whole world is talking about,” Morgan said.

Or at least the first part. That was the first half, and the 45-minute discussion focused on Ronaldo’s complaints and grief over the past 18 months. It was the interview he had been promising since attempts to leave Old Trafford failed in the summer. It’s a good time, he claims, to set the record straight on the eve of the World Cup.

Morgan was the vehicle of choice for revenge, graciously giving the stage for Ronaldo to drive home. And like most of his career, he never missed captaining Portugal.

As the most engaging excerpts promised in the days immediately leading up to the interview, there were shots fired at the Manchester United hierarchy, former coach Ralph Rangnick and his colleagues who dared to suggest his powers were on the wane.

Manchester United manager Eric ten Hag is anticipating his eviscerated moment when the second part of an interview filmed at Ronaldo’s home last week was broadcast on Thursday night. The Glazer is also a target.

This rare window into Ronaldo’s mind wasn’t all annoyance and frustration. He spent the time detailing the tragic death of his newborn son, Angel, in April and the strength of his relationship with girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez.

Ronaldo still has more to say about his ordeal with United, with scathing accusations of betrayal and disrespect, but here are five relevant points from the first half of that interview with Morgan.


United’s lead was nil

“Everything was the same. They stopped on the clock, in my opinion, which surprised me.”

Those damn words made headlines for days and their power was not mitigated by any broader context. Ronaldo has claimed that time has stopped at United since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, with the slump off the pitch indicative of a wider malaise.

He said a move to Manchester City was “close”, but the emotional attraction to United, the club he began his career in as a teenager, overshadowed the misgivings he now chose to publicize.

“A club of this dimension should be at the top of the tree, and unfortunately they are not,” he said. “They are not at this level. I don’t know what is going on, but since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, I have not found any development in the club, progress has been zero.”

United Rail against this motion. The club’s training ground is being redeveloped with significant investment, while the science and data teams are being rebuilt. But for Ronaldo, that was clearly not enough.

Rangnick and another Coca-Cola

“Deep down, I never saw him as president because I saw some points that I never agreed with.”

If there was a point at which Ronaldo’s return to United began to sour, it could easily be traced back to Rangnick’s appointment. Last November, in the weeks following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, a figure who maintains Ronaldo’s respect, it was decided that United would appoint Lokomotiv Moscow sporting director as a short-term solution. Ronaldo seemed never to be sold to Rangnick, who had been relegated to the bench by February.

“Honestly, Pierce, it’s something I don’t understand,” said Ronaldo, who claimed not to have heard of Prangnik prior to his appointment. “It’s the new coaches who come in, and they think they’ve found the last Coca-Cola in the desert, and that is I don’t understand football that was invented so many years ago.

“I’m at a club to win, and with my experience, I want to help. As always, and some coaches who don’t accept, you know, that’s part of the job.”

No love was lost between Ronaldo and Rangnick. However, a change of manager in the summer has failed to change the direction of travel that sees Ronaldo keen on a move out of Old Trafford.

Young players and falling standards

“All the leagues in the world, younger now, are not like my generation.”

In those happy weeks following Ronaldo’s return in August 2021, the common consensus was that he would become a role model for United’s young strikers to thrive alongside.

Wrong – wronged – wronged. Twelve months or so later, Ronaldo expressed his obvious disappointment in the youth’s attitude. No one was criticized by name but asked to pick players from around the world they liked, and praise only went to Diogo Dalot, Lisandro Martinez and Casemiro when he narrowed the question down to his teammates.

In a broader discussion of young players following his lead, he added: “They don’t care. Some of it, yes. But most of them don’t. They wouldn’t have longevity in their careers. It’s impossible.”

“Their hunger is (different). They have things more easily, everything is easy, they don’t suffer — and they don’t care.”

A penny for the ideas of Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho …

fellow former critics

“I still think jealousy is part of that… It’s hard to listen to that criticism when you’re a little down.”

Once they became Ronaldo’s teammates, but friendships with Wayne Rooney and Gary Neville seem to have come to an end. The swipes directed at them have been widely documented and even allowing Morgan to take the bait, it was clear that the criticism of Ronaldo caught on.

Ronaldo said that it has only been six months since Rooney visited his home, but it is unlikely that those invitations will come again. He said, “I really don’t understand such people.” “Or if they want to be on the cover of the paper or the news, or they want new jobs or whatever.”

Neville scoffed at the narrative, but Ronaldo seems in a languid mood to rebuild bridges with his teammates, which helped him win his first Champions League title in 2008.

He said, “I care about the people who love me.” “I don’t waste time for people who don’t like me. It’s a waste of time, these people are not interesting in my life.”

Curiously, Ronaldo paid tribute to Ruud van Nistelrooy alongside Roy Keane and Rio Ferdinand, despite his strained relationship with the former Netherlands and United striker.

angel “up in heaven”

“His ashes are with me, as are my father’s, they are here at home… It’s something I want to keep for the rest of my life.”

Ronaldo’s motive for interviewing Morgan was to settle scores, but there was still time to detail one of the most difficult periods of his life. His partner was expecting twins in April but their son, Angel, did not survive the birth. Ronaldo said he had received condolences from all over the footballing world, as well as a message from the royal family. “I never expected that,” he said. “Start.”

Ronaldo admitted that his son’s ashes are preserved alongside those of his father Jose, who died in 2005.

“I have a chapel,” he explained. “Yes, a chapel. And I keep my father and my son (there). I talk to them every time and they’re by my side. You know they’ve helped me be a better man, a better person, a better father. I’m really proud of the message they’re sending me, especially my son.” “.

Expect Ronaldo to address the health scare suffered by infant daughter Bella – and United’s treatment of his absence during pre-season – when the second part of the interview airs. There is distance left to run on this one.

(Top photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images)


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