Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has been left “furious” and “disappointed” by Cristiano Ronaldo following his explosive interview.
Ronaldo – in an interview with Piers Morgan – heavily criticised many aspects of the Premier League club.
From saying he didn’t “respect” Ten Hag to that nothing has changed with the infrastructure since the beginning of his first spell at the club nearly two decades ago, the legendary striker went nuclear.
After failing to get a move in the summer transfer window, this is clearly Ronaldo’s final attempt to find a new club.
Speaking on The United Stand, renowned transfer journalist Fabrizio Romano discussed the situation.
Romano has said it is very telling that Ronaldo has been so vocal at this stage of the season, while he is still contracted to the Red Devils.
The Italian has revealed that Ten Hag is “absolutely furious” and that there appeared to be some respect between the manager and Ronaldo prior to his astonishing outburst.
“It is really strong to see something like that during the season,” Romano said.
“The reaction internally at Manchester United… yes, with Erik ten Hag, I am told he is absolutely furious and also a bit disappointed, because during the summer he was trying to keep the situation quiet around Cristiano Ronaldo.
“He knew the situation was not easy.
“In training, in the day-by-day at Manchester United, Cristiano had always been quiet and respectful.
“Of course, he was not happy. He is not happy about the situation, he is not happy about being on the bench. But there was, sort of, respect between Ten Hag and Ronaldo.
“The manager always tried to be respectful with him, also after the difficult situation with the Tottenham game.
“So, they always tried to keep the situation quiet.
“This interview is not something Erik ten Hag was expecting. He knew Cristiano was not happy, but Ten Hag was not expecting those kind of words, and the same for [other] people in the club.
“Lots of people in the club, in the board, are absolutely not happy at all with this interview.
“Now, Manchester United are looking for the best way to answer.
“I expect Man United to go with a strong position, it is also about protecting the squad, protecting the manager, and protecting the whole project.”
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Romano went onto explain why Ronaldo does not respect Ten Hag, stating that he believes he is still the “best player” in the United squad and should be starting every week.
“He is not happy with how Erik ten Hag managed him during the first part of the season,” he added.
In terms of Ronaldo’s future, Romano has revealed that he does not have any concrete offers and did not come close to leaving Old Trafford in the summer.
He was heavily linked with Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Napoli.
However, Blues head coach – at the time – Thomas Tuchel simply said no to a deal, Bayern “decided against” the signing, Atletico boss Diego Simeone said he had “no interest” and there was “nothing serious, nothing concrete” with Napoli.
An unnamed Saudi Arabian club “approached with record salary, concrete proposal, serious proposal”, but Ronaldo wanted to stay in Europe.
Going nuclear with this type of interview may hint that Ronaldo has something lined up, but this is absolutely not the case, Romano says.
He added: “From what I’m told, this interview was not with the plan, ‘I already know I’m joining this club’.
“He knows it is almost over with Manchester United after his interview, but he has no agreement with any club.
“It is not easy to find a club at the best level for Cristiano Ronaldo, with his salary, in January, with many clubs with no intention to move [for him].”
Ahead of the January window, it is said that Chelsea have made RB Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku their “priority” and Bayern chief Oliver Kahn has already confirmed the German champions will not be active in the market.
As for Napoli; it is said their president gets on well with Ronaldo’s agent, but they are unlikely to disrupt their squad after such a strong start to the season.
“It is true that the relationship with the Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis and Jorge Mendes is excellent, but the reality is that Napoli are flying and they are not going to touch the squad in January.”
Romano adds that Ronaldo “has to find a solution” but it is a very “complicated” transfer to complete.
“This interview was a message to the market, it was a message to the world,” Romano continued. “It was his a way to announce his intention, his plans. Also, it was his way to say his truth.”
On if he could join Chelsea, Romano said: “[Blues co-owner] Todd Boehly was tempted by Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer. It was Thomas Tuchel who said no.
“Now, it is up to them because they have a project with different ideas, they are speaking to Endrick, they are speaking to Christopher Nkunku and the negotiation is more than advanced.
“If you bring in Cristiano Ronaldo, how long could be the contract? I don’t see a contract of six months for Cristiano Ronaldo.”
Romano has said he is unsure what United will do with Ronaldo, but knows they cannot continue with him in the squad and will be more than happy to let him leave for nothing when the transfer window re-opens.
“It is not an easy situation to resolve,” he said.
“I don’t know if Manchester United will decide to terminate his contract or not. They are discussing internally about the best solution, but I do not see Manchester United asking for money for Cristiano Ronaldo in any case in January.
“They know they can not continue with Cristiano.”
Romano adds that United could end up ’embarrassed’ if they continue with Ronaldo as part of the project under Ten Hag after his interview.
After trying for a new striker last January under Ralf Rangnick and in the summer transfer window with Ten Hag, Romano said: “I expect Manchester United to go for a striker” in the winter window.
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