"Cristiano Ronaldo is to leave Manchester United by mutual agreement, with immediate effect," the United statement reads. “The club thanks him for his immense contribution across two spells at Old Trafford, scoring 145 goals in 346 appearances, and wishes him and his family well for the future. Everyone at Manchester United remains focused on continuing the team’s progress under Erik ten Hag and working together to deliver success on the pitch."
Here is everything you need to know about what Ronaldo told Morgan in a bombshell of an interview which ended up leading to his exit.
What did Ronaldo say to Piers Morgan?
The forward discussed a number of subjects during the first half of the interview, which began with the 37-year-old reflecting on his return to United in the summer of 2021. Ronaldo also revealed he nearly signed for rivals City, but Sir Alex Ferguson’s influence played a big role in him moving to Old Trafford instead.
“I spoke with him,” Ronaldo explained. “He said it was impossible to go to Manchester City. I said ‘ok boss’. I took the decision and it was conscious. It was a good decision.”
Ronaldo also took a swipe at former interim manager Ralf Rangnick, claiming he had never heard of the German before he was appointed at Old Trafford, and the forward claimed Rangnick didn’t know what he was doing. “This guy is not even a coach,” said Ronaldo. “That Manchester United bring in a sporting director surprised not only me, but all the world.”
The former Real Madrid and Juventus star praised Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and said he will have a good career as a manager, before criticising the younger players in the United squad. “They listen but it goes in one side and out the other side. It doesn’t surprise me, but it is a shame because if you have a good example in front of your eyes and you don’t copy, for me, it is kind of weird.”
Ronaldo said United had ‘stopped on the clock’ and revealed his shock upon returning to the club, when he discovered so much of the training ground remained the same as when he was last at United in 2009. “I think it’s behind in my opinion, which is something that surprised me. A club with this dimension should be the top of the tree in my opinion and they are not, unfortunately."
Ronaldo moved on to discuss the trauma of his son dying in childbirth in April, how he explained the loss to his other children, revealed he keeps the ashes along those of his father’s, and said he received a letter of support from the Queen.
“It was the most difficult moments. The last six months, [since] my dad died, it was this moment that I passed through the last six months.”
The Portugal international spoke about his immense social media following and the criticism he’s faced from the media in the last year.
“The people only try to bring negativity,” claimed Ronaldo. “And I felt the last four or five months that, not only for me, but even for my family as well, for Georgina [his partner], especially around the world, the press criticise me even more...sometimes I don’t understand.”
He ended the interview with a discussion about his former team-mates Gary Neville and Wayne Rooney, who Ronaldo feels use his name to boost their own reputation. The forwarded added they are ‘not my friends’.
Ronaldo’s aims and motives are rather more transparent, and he clearly saw the interview as an opportunity to try and force an exit from Old Trafford. Criticising the club’s owners, development, as well as current and former team-mates - there was no way back for him at United.
Morgan lacked all journalistic integrity during the first 45-minute chat, and failed to question Ronaldo on obvious flaws in his responses. The TV presenter was reduced to a sycophantic, hypocritical nodding dog, who lapped up every answer chucked his way.
As for Ronaldo, the choice to conduct this interview is a real insight into his ego and self-serving priorities. Evidently, he can’t and won’t accept his regression from the upper echelons of the elite sport, and rather than quietly closing the door on his way out, Ronaldo’s opted to torch the building.
Referring to his good looks and charisma were cringeworthy, while the suggestion he could overrule Rangnick due to his experience demonstrates arrogance beyond belief. In addition, opting to criticise young team-mates, former professionals and the media again portrayed an almost god-like sense of self-entitlement.
United’s No.7 simply could not fathom why he has been criticised in the last year. It, obviously, is due to jealousy, generating headlines or to boost someone else’s profile, in the eyes of one of football’s greatest-ever stars. The truth, of course, is far less convoluted. Simply, Ronaldo’s actions in the past year have warranted criticism, and this interview is a new low in career which is dwindling towards near irrelevance on the pitch.