Gary Neville has had his say on Cristiano Ronaldo’s explosive interview, and he has not held back.
The Manchester United forward is dominating the headlines this week after his interview with Piers Morgan. The Portuguese superstar accused Erik ten Hag and United officials of trying to push him out of the club, while also laying into the hierarchy for their lack of progress since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson.
The interview was well timed on Ronaldo’s part, with clips first emerging after the veteran had left for World Cup duty with Portugal, but there is no telling what awaits him when he returns, if indeed he ever comes back to the club. Ronaldo is still under contract until the end of the season, but it’s difficult to see a way back for him after some of his comments.
And that’s something Sky Sports pundit Neville echoed on Thursday, saying: “No, and l don’t think he wants a way back. He wouldn’t have done this interview if he wanted a way back. He knew it would bring the headlines it has and be the end of his Manchester United career.”
Neville believes Ronaldo must be sacked following the interview, adding: “I’m wondering what Man United are doing because the reality of it is they know they have to terminate Cristiano’s contract or they basically open up a precedent so any player can criticise them in the future.
“I agree with some of the things Cristiano has said and many Man United fans will agree with many things Cristiano has said, but the reality is if you’re an employee within a business and say those things your employment has to terminate and Man United have to do that in the next few days.
“Cristiano probably wants that as well but it didn’t need to end like that. They could have come together a couple of weeks ago and navigated a pathway through what could have potentially been choppy seas to the shore but it’s not happened, they’ve both basically backed themselves into a corner.”
Neville went on to criticise Ronaldo for the way he has gone about forcing an exit. He said: “There was probably another way to do it but that was from the club’s side and Cristiano’s side.
“When I had that debate in the studio after the Chelsea game three or four weeks ago with Roy Keane, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Dave Jones, I urged Man United and Cristiano to come together that week because it was obvious the relationship was failing or had failed, and to navigate a pathway to January or the World Cup where they created a truce. Exits don’t have to happen this way if both sides are proactive and mature. I’m disappointed that meeting doesn’t seem to have happened.
“Cristiano hasn’t been controlled or managed, it doesn’t look like he’s reached out to the club and opened communication lines. We’ve ended up with this quite unsavoury situation whereby it looks like Cristiano is going to end this period of his reign at Man United in not a great a feeling as it should be.
“He’s one of the greatest players ever to play the game in the world and certainly one of Man United’s greatest-ever players. As a fan it doesn’t feel right that someone I played with needs to leave the club in this way, or the club need to end it this way.”