Cristiano Ronaldo has accused Gary Neville of using him to boost his own profile. The claims come within the Portuguese’s bombshell interview with Piers Morgan in which he took aim at Manchester United, Erik ten Hag, Ralf Rangnick and now Neville among others.
It comes after revelations on Sunday evening in which Ronaldo accused United of ‘betraying’ him before the club released a statement on Monday afternoon saying they were aware of the interview but would not act immediately.
Ronaldo recently blanked his former team-mate pitchside at Old Trafford as a result of the Sky pundit’s supposed criticism of him. In a fresh clip of the interview released on Monday evening, Ronaldo accused his former team-mate of criticising him only to boost his own fame – before declaring him and Wayne Rooney not friends of his.
Neville and Rooney have both criticised the Portuguese in recent weeks for his seemingly recalcitrant and often increasingly petulant behaviour. Best encapsulated, perhaps, by his refusal to enter the fray against Tottenham last month.
The fresh excerpts of the interview come amid speculation over what Ronaldo’s future might hold. United are looking at ways they can sack the player meanwhile the Portuguese himself, along with his agent Jorge Mendes, met with Bayern Munich last week as revealed by Sportsmail – they were one of the clubs he tried to engineer a move to in the summer window.
Ronaldo told Morgan: ‘To listen as ex-colleagues or team-mates criticise you, when they only see one point of view. It’s easy. ‘It’s easy to criticise, I don’t know if you have a job in television that they must criticise to be more famous. I really don’t understand it. ‘It’s hard when you see people who was in the dressing room with you criticising that way.’
‘We know him, we love him but he can’t accept not being the star man. He’s going to have to leave, that’s it,’ Neville said of the player at the Chelsea fixture following the win over Tottenham, for which Ronaldo was suspended by the club.
‘It’s hard when you see people who was in the dressing room with you criticising that way,’ Ronaldo added. Morgan questioned Ronaldo on whether Neville’s criticism came from a place in which he felt he could boost his own name by doing such.
Rooney said on talkSPORT: ‘Cristiano should get his head down and work and be ready to play when the manager needs you. I think if he does that, he’ll be an asset. If he doesn’t, I think it’ll become an unwanted distraction.’
‘I think they take advantage of that because they are not stupid,’ Ronaldo said. ‘I’m the No 1 followed guy in the world. It’s not by coincidence.’ Meanwhile, further revelations of Ronaldo’s anger at being criticised by former team-mate and strike partner Rooney emerged.
‘Me too (I’m surprised about this). Piers, I don’t understand. You should ask the questions to him,’ he said. ‘I don’t know. I don’t know why he criticised me so badly.‘Probably (it’s jealously). Probably – because he finished his career in his 30s. I’m still playing at a high level; I’m not going to say that I’m looking better than him, which is true.
‘It’s hard to listen to that sort of criticism and negativity from people who play with you, for example Gary Neville as well.’ ‘People can have their own opinion but they don’t know what is going inside the training ground at Carrington – or even my life. They shouldn’t listen to one point of view – they should listen to my point of view as well, because it’s easy to criticise [when] you don’t know the whole story,’ he went on to say.
‘They are not my friends, they are colleagues. We play together, they’re not coming, we’re not ever having dinner together.’The comments from Ronaldo come amid a total breakdown in relationship between the Portuguese and Manchester United.
United themselves released a statement on Monday afternoon saying they were aware of the interview and would wait until the full facts have been ‘established’ before they sought to act.
‘The club will consider its response after the full facts have been established. Our focus remains on preparing for the second half of the season and continuing the momentum, belief and togetherness being built among the players, manager, staff, and fans,’ the statement read.
In addition to his comments regarding Rooney and Neville, Ronaldo also took aim at Ten Hag, whose reign has coincided with the total torching of his relationship with the club. ‘I don’t have respect for him because he doesn’t show respect for me,’ Ronaldo told Morgan.
‘Some people, they don’t want me here – not only the coach but the other two or three guys. Not only this year, but last year too. ‘Honestly, I shouldn’t say that. But listen, I don’t care. People should listen to the truth. Yes, I feel betrayed.’
While he also accused the club of not moving with the times, saying that they had been surpassed by Liverpool, Manchester City – and now even Arsenal. He said: ‘Since Sir Alex Ferguson left I saw no evolution in the club, the progress was zero.
‘Nothing changed. Not only the pool, the jacuzzi, even the gym. They stopped in time, which surprised me a lot.‘I think the fans should know the truth. I want the best for the club. But you have some things inside [the club] that don’t help reach the top level as City, Liverpool and even now Arsenal.’