Cristiano Ronaldo has claimed members of the Manchester United hierarchy doubted him when he said he could not attend pre-season because his daughter was ill in hospital, and also says the Glazer family “do not care” about the club.
Ronaldo accused United of betraying him – claiming the club tried to force him out – and said he has no respect for manager Erik ten Hag in the first clips released by TalkTV from a 90-minute interview with Piers Morgan.
The Portugal captain also lashed out at former team-mate Wayne Rooney and United’s interim manager from last season Ralf Rangnick, as he criticised the lack of progress at Old Trafford since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
And now, in the latest set of teasers from his sit-down with the TV presenter, the 37-year-old has alleged that two senior figures at Old Trafford treated him with suspicion when he said his daughter, Bella, was sick with bronchitis – just three months after her twin brother had died.
“I spoke with the director and the president of Man Utd and they kind of didn’t believe that something was going wrong, which made me feel bad,” Ronaldo told TalkTV.
Asked to confirm they did not believe him, Ronaldo continued: “They believe me but in the same way [shakes head]… I am never going to change the health of my family for a football. Now, or 10 years behind or forward.
What happened in pre-season?
- Ronaldo did not report for pre-season training at Carrington on July 4 with the rest of the international players citing family reasons, an explanation which United said they accepted.
- It had emerged just days earlier on July 2 that Ronaldo wanted to leave Old Trafford.
- United were unclear whether he would be joining the squad for the tour of Thailand and Australia on July 5 – three days before they were due to depart.
- The club later confirmed on July 7 that he would not join Ten Hag and his squad on their tour and said that Ronaldo been granted additional time off to deal with a family issue.
- Ronaldo has now clarified that his daughter, Bella, was in hospital with bronchitis.
- He says he was “hurt” when his behaviour was allegedly treated as suspicious by senior figures at United just three months after her twin brother had died.
“And it is something that really hurt me because they doubted my word that I was struggling, especially Bella and Geo [Georgina Rodriguez, Ronaldo’s girlfriend].
“We had one week in hospital because Bella had a big problem and I didn’t go to the pre-season because of that.
“I didn’t want to leave my family to do the pre-season because I didn’t think it was fair to leave my family for a pre-season. This is why I didn’t go.”
Man Utd are not commenting on Ronaldo’s latest comments.
‘Glazers don’t care about Man Utd’
Ronaldo has also said Man Utd’s owners, the Glazers, do not care about the club’s sporting success.
The Glazers, who took ownership of the club through a leveraged buy-out in 2005, a deal which left United with a debt of more than £500m, have been widely criticised by fans.
Ronaldo believes the current structure at United, with the Glazers in charge, makes it unlikely the club will be fighting for top honours in the next few years.
“The owners of the club – the Glazers – they don’t care about the club. I mean professional sport. Manchester United is a marketing club, they get their money from the marketing,” he added.
“The sports, they don’t really care in my opinion.”
Asked if he had spoken to the Glazers since he went back, Ronaldo said: No, never.
“They give all the power to the president, the sporting director.
“The fans are always right. The fans should know the truth. They should know that the players want the best for the club, I want the best for the club.
“This is why I came to Manchester United, this is why I love this club but you have some things inside the club which doesn’t help it reach the top level as City, Liverpool and even now Arsenal.
“It is complicated, it’s difficult, it’s hard. In my opinion, it will be hard for Manchester United to be top of the game in the next two or three years.”
Ronaldo: Absolute focus on Portugal
Ronaldo has joined up with the Portugal squad for the World Cup and insisted his “absolute focus” is on the national team amid the furore over his interview on Piers Morgan Uncensored.
Ronaldo said on Twitter: “Total and absolute focus on the work of the National Team.
“A united group, towards a single objective: to fulfil the dream of all Portuguese people!”
Man Utd to take legal advice before making decision on Ronaldo
United will take legal advice before deciding how to respond to Ronaldo, but will await the release of the full interview later this week before taking any decision.
Sky Sports News understands Ten Hag and the United players are extremely disappointed with the manner and timing of Ronaldo’s interview.
The club only found out about the interview as they were preparing to fly back from London on Sunday evening following their 2-1 win over Fulham and they do not understand why he has said what he has said.
They are hugely disappointed that he would disrespect the club, his manager and team-mates in this way and United are likely to consider all their options now regarding the player.
Ronaldo was told on Thursday that he would not be in the starting XI against Fulham but he would have been in the squad. He told the club he was ill.