Cristiano Ronaldo says he feels “betrayed” by senior figures at Manchester United and has no respect for the club’s head coach Erik ten Hag after enduring a turbulent season at Old Trafford.
Having top-scored for United with 24 goals in all competitions last term, Ronaldo reportedly asked to leave the club following their failure to qualify for the Champions League, and the 37-year-old has fallen out of favour since Ten Hag took charge ahead of this campaign.
Ronaldo was temporarily exiled from first-team activities last month after refusing to come on as a substitute in a 2-0 win over Tottenham, and has only scored one Premier League goal all season.
Before travelling to Qatar to represent Portugal at his fifth and likely final World Cup, Ronaldo stated his belief that senior figures at Old Trafford – including Ten Hag – want rid of him.
Asked whether he felt he was being forced out of Old Trafford, Ronaldo told Piers Morgan uncensored: “Yes, not only by the coach, but by another two or three guys around the club that I felt betrayed me.
“I shouldn’t say that [they were trying to get rid of me], I don’t know, but yes, I feel betrayed. I felt that some people didn’t want me here not only this year, but last year too.”
Ten Hag has preferred to hand opportunities to the likes of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Anthony Elanga in United’s attack this season, and has only started Ronaldo in four league games.
vLast month, Ten Hag said he opted against bringing Ronaldo on in a 6-3 defeat to rivals Manchester City “out of respect”, while the Portugal forward was visibly irritated by the Dutchman’s decision to substitute him against Newcastle United two weeks later.
Asked about his relationship with Ten Hag, Ronaldo added: “I don’t have respect for him because he doesn’t show respect for me.
“If you don’t have respect for me, I’m never going to have respect for you.”
— Ferdinand A Baah