Erik ten Hag accuses Cristiano Ronaldo of stabbing him in the back
Erik Ten Hag accuses Cristiano Ronaldo of stabbing him in the back by announcing his desire to quit Man United in THAT Piers Morgan interview, insisting he never said he wanted to leave Old Trafford before but it was ‘clear’ he had to once it aired
- Cristiano Ronaldo had his Man United contract terminated last month
- This decision came after the forward’s bombshell interview with Piers Morgan
- During that interview Ronaldo criticised the club and manager Erik Ten Hag
- Erik Ten Hag has claimed Ronaldo never told him he wanted to leave the club
- After his interview with Morgan, Ten Hag feels it was ‘clear’ Ronaldo had to go
Erik Ten Hag has accused Cristiano Ronaldo of double-crossing him over his acrimonious exit from Manchester United.
Ten Hag hit back on Friday at comments made by Ronaldo in last month’s explosive interview with Piers Morgan that he felt betrayed by the club and had no respect for the United boss.
The Dutchman claimed Ronaldo had, in fact, stabbed him in the back by waiting for the bombshell interview’s release before revealing for the first time that he wanted to quit Old Trafford.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract at Man United was terminated by mutual consent last month
This move came just days after Ronaldo’s bombshell interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV
During an hour-long interview at United’s base in Jerez, where Ten Hag and his players have been training during the World Cup break, it was put to Ten Hag that Ronaldo did not have the decency to tell the manager his intentions.
‘Yes, so it is,’ said Ten Hag. ‘In the summer we had one talk. He came in and said, “I will tell you in seven days if I want to stay”. Then he came back and said, “I want to stay”. Until that moment (the interview) I never heard anything. He never told me, “I want to leave”.
‘The interview I think, as a club, you can’t accept. There will be consequences. To make that step, he knew the consequences.
‘I have seen most of it, but not all of it. I think it was quite clear after that he had to leave,’ added Ten Hag, who took the decision to rip up Ronaldo’s contract with chief executive Richard Arnold and football director John Murtough six days after the interview aired. ‘We didn’t have to discuss it. It was quite clear. Richard, John, me, it was (done).
‘I think the club can only be successful and operate when all the decision-makers are on one page and back each other.’
Ronaldo said in his interview with Morgan that he has no respect for United boss Erik Ten Hag
Ten Hag brought Ronaldo back into the fold after punishing him for refusing to come on as a substitute against Tottenham in October and then walking out of Old Trafford before full time. He even made him captain in his final game for United at Aston Villa.
Asked if he could forgive the player for turning against him, Ten Hag said: ‘I don’t want to answer this situation. I am open to talk with him, so why not?
‘I did everything honest, open and transparent, and we had talks about my vision, so I don’t have a problem to talk with him. Not that I would say something in particular to him.’
Though there was a strong suspicion at Old Trafford that Ronaldo wanted to force his way out, Ten Hag insists he wanted to keep the 37-year-old.
‘I wanted him to stay from the first moment until now but he wanted to leave,’ he added.
‘When a player definitely doesn’t want to be in this club then he has to go, that’s clear. We want a new future of Manchester United and he didn’t want to be part of it. We move on.
‘We are in a process. Ronaldo was part of it but he has chosen to take another pathway. I would have preferred it to be a different way because I wanted to work with him. He chose another way.
Ten Hag has claimed Ronaldo never told him personally that he wanted to leave United
‘I did everything to bring him into the team because I value his quality. We wanted him to be part of our project and contribute to Manchester United because he is a great player. He has such a great history, but it’s the past and we have to look into the future. I don’t spend my energy on it.’
Ten Hag became increasingly aware Ronaldo was not in top shape, having missed the club’s pre-season tour of Bangkok and Australia due to personal reasons.
But he would not have been against offering the five-time Ballon d’Or winner a new contract if he could have reproduced the form that saw him score 24 goals in his first season back at United.
Ten Hag said: ‘Last year he scored 24 goals, yes? So what does this team need? We need goals. Yes, potentially (get a new contract), but it is theoretical. When he is in good shape, he is a good player and he could help us to get back and achieve the objectives we have, that is quite clear — but he wasn’t.
‘I have to make the choices if the player is not performing. I have to pick the best team in favour of the club and the team. Those are the decisions I have to make and it doesn’t matter which person it is.’
Ronaldo’s problems with United have been mirrored with the Portugal national team after coach Fernando Santos made the bold move of benching his iconic No 7 for the World Cup clash against Switzerland in the last 16, which ended in a 6-1 win following a hat-trick from his replacement Goncalo Ramos.
Ten Hag has had to face awkward questions about Ronaldo ever since he took over, but dismissed suggestions United — like Portugal — may be better off without him.
‘No, I like to work with world-class players,’ he said. ‘I know they can make a difference, so that is why you want such players in your dressing room.
Ten Hag wanted to keep Ronaldo, but after his interview he knew the forward had to leave
‘You want to have them but finally we were never on one page and then what happened, it happened.’
Having overshadowed the win over Spurs with his walkout, Ronaldo stole the headlines again after United beat Fulham in their last game before the World Cup break when Morgan leaked the first excerpts of their interview straight after the game.
‘You have to deal with it. Never as a manager try to spend time on issues you can’t influence,’ said Ten Hag.
‘So you have to let it go and deal with the situation and drive it in the right direction, that is what I tried to do. Keep focus on that and don’t get distracted.
‘I know the Cristiano issue distracts the whole world, but I don’t think the dressing room is distracted. They know the value of the performances. It confirmed we are in the right direction.’
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