What did Cristiano Ronaldo say to Piers Morgan? Is he leaving Man Utd? Interview comments analysed

The Manchester United attacker criticised several people in the first half of his interview on TalkTV.
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The first half of Cristiano Ronaldo’s bombshell interview aired on Wednesday night, with the Manchester United forward discussing several topics with Piers Morgan.

The 45-minute interview included references from Ronaldo to his return to United and how he nearly signed for Manchester City, as well as discussions surrounding key figures such as Ralf Rangnick, Wayne Rooney and Gary Neville, as well as the tragic death of his son earlier this year. The second half of the show will be aired on Thursday night on TalkTV, where Ronaldo is expected to lay out how he feels this season as gone under Erik ten Hag, and what happens next for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.

We’ve had a look at the main points he discussed with Morgan, and given our view on the incendiary interview.

What did Ronaldo say to 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 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 with Piers Morgan Ronaldo with Piers Morgan
Ronaldo with Piers Morgan

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 Neville and Rooney, who Ronaldo feels use his name to boost their own reputation. The forwarded added they are ‘not my friends’.

Is Ronaldo leaving Man Utd?

United are yet to officially respond to the interview other than to say they will make a comment at a later date ‘after the full facts have been established’. There are reports that the club are consulting lawyers on how to proceed.

It’s difficult to see a way back for Ronaldo at United. Credit: Getty.It’s difficult to see a way back for Ronaldo at United. Credit: Getty.
It’s difficult to see a way back for Ronaldo at United. Credit: Getty.

But Ronaldo’s aims and motives are rather more transparent, and he clearly sees this 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 is surely no way back for him at United.

Finding a new club could prove more difficult, however. Last summer, Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes tried and failed to secure a transfer away from the club, with proposed moves to the likes of Bayern Munich, Napoli, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Sporting Lisbon all failing.

Interview comments analysed

This really feels like an interview which will carry long-lasting implications. Firstly, and most importantly, Ronaldo’s tragic loss of his son is a hugely moving moment during the show.

He discussed the dismay of losing one twin but the joy of another being born, and it’s difficult to imagine the emotions that he and his family must have experienced during that period. The interview is a car crash, but it should in no way detract from the feeling of sympathy surrounding this calamity . Ronaldo deserved and needed support from United, something the club maintain they provided, but only a few really know the truth of what occurred earlier this year.

As for the rest of the interview, in many ways it feels like a conversation between two ageing stars, keen to explain to the world why they are still relevant. Even Ronaldo’s choice to speak to Morgan on a channel most have never watched was odd, and spoke of its staged and rehearsed nature.

Morgan also doesn’t come out of this interview well. Credit: Getty.Morgan also doesn’t come out of this interview well. Credit: Getty.
Morgan also doesn’t come out of this interview well. Credit: Getty.

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.