Cristiano Ronaldo claims he is a ‘better man’ after the explosive end to his time at Man United – and admits he suffered a ‘bad phase’ that saw him frozen out of the team before savaging the club in Piers Morgan interview
- Cristiano Ronaldo has spoken out about his sour Manchester United departure
- The Al-Nassr star admits he went through a ‘bad phase’ that saw him frozen out
- But he claims he is now a ‘better man’ having savaged the club in an interview
Cristiano Ronaldo insists he is a better man after coming through a ‘bad phase’ of his career during his second spell at Manchester United.
The arrival of Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford in the summer saw the Portugal veteran’s game time restricted and, as his unhappiness grew so did his frustration, which led to an authorised and explosive TV interview with Piers Morgan, in which he savaged the club and its treatment of him.
That ultimately led to his contract being terminated by mutual consent and him joining Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr.
‘I have no problem saying I had a bad phase of my career, but there’s no time for regrets,’ he told a press conference ahead of Portugal’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Liechtenstein.
‘Life goes on and, doing well or not, it was part of my growth. When we are at the top of the mountain, we often cannot see what is below.
Cristiano Ronaldo claims he is now a ‘better man’ after his sour Manchester United departure
Ronaldo – who is preparing to play for Portugal in their Euro 2024 qualifiers – admits he suffered a ‘bad phase’ after being dropped from the United first team
‘Now, I’m more prepared and learning that was important, because I had never been through this, like in the last few months. Now I’m a better man.’
There had been speculation the 38-year-old would bring his international career to an end after the World Cup in Qatar but the arrival of Roberto Martinez as head coach has given him optimism for the future.
Portugal play Liechtenstein on Thursday in their first Euro 2024 qualifier before facing Luxembourg on Sunday and Ronaldo will be keen to impress Martinez and show he can still deliver at this level.
‘It’s a different chapter for all of us. The energies are good, positive, that’s the most important thing,’ he added.
‘There’s fresh air now, different ideas and mentality.’
Ronaldo was benched under Erik ten Hag and tensions soon grew over his lack of minutes
Things came to a head after his explosive tell-all interview with Piers Morgan – where he claimed the club had betrayed him, with the player later being released from his contract
Ronaldo – who irked fans, pundits and Ten Hag when he refused to come on as a sub for United in their 2-0 win over Tottenham last year before storming off down the tunnel – had some choice worlds for United in his tell-all interview with Morgan.
He accused United of ‘betraying’ him and also hit out at Ten Hag’s lack of respect for him – claiming the club had grown stale since he left for Real Madrid in 2008.
‘Some people, they don’t want me here – not only the coach but the other two or three guys. Not only this year, but last year too.
‘Honestly, I shouldn’t say that. But listen, I don’t care. People should listen to the truth. Yes, I feel betrayed.
‘Since Sir Alex Ferguson left I saw no evolution in the club, the progress was zero. Nothing changed. Not only the pool, the jacuzzi, even the gym. They stopped in time, which surprised me a lot.
Ronaldo also suffered a World Cup to forget as he was benched for the knockouts and had a feud with former boss Fernando Santos
‘I think the fans should know the truth. I want the best for the club. But you have some things inside [the club] that don’t help reach the top level as City, Liverpool and even now Arsenal.’
He will be particularly keen to put a negative chapter behind him that followed his Manchester United exit as he then fell out with Fernando Santos – Martinez’s predecessor at Portugal – at the World Cup last year.
Ronaldo started the first three games of tournament before finding himself on the bench for their 6-1 last-16 win against Switzerland and their 1-0 loss to Morocco.
But he earned the wrath of Santos after he sulked when substituted in their 2-1 defeat to South Korea, with his former boss saying: ‘If I see the images, yes, I didn’t like it, not at all. I really didn’t like it.’
Ronaldo then reportedly threatened to walk out of Portugal’s World Cup squad after being benched against the Swiss, before having heated talks with Santos.
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