All was well in Manchester United’s world as their 2022/23 campaign ground to a halt thanks to the Qatari World Cup.
Supporters were buoyant after teenager Alejandro Garnacho had just handed the Red Devils a 2-1 victory over Fulham with a last-gasp effort at Craven Cottage. The teenager is the talk of the town right now, but Cristiano Ronaldo ensured that it was he who dominated the headlines despite – to iShowSpeed’s dismay – not making the trip down to London.
We’ve all seen it, right: the interview.
“Jaw-dropping” and “explosive” in the eyes of interviewer Piers Morgan, Ronaldo’s discussion with the infamous British journalist has all but eliminated any chance of seeing the all-time great in a United shirt again.
Despite a productive season last time out upon his return to Old Trafford, Ronaldo has been keen to leave the club for a second time since the summer. But why does he want out? Here are a few reasons why.
Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag entered the poisoned chalice in the summer in a bid to rebuild a declining supergiant. The task at hand was and remains an almighty one, and he certainly hasn’t been helped by Ronaldo’s antics – walking down the tunnel early against Tottenham, for example.
The 37-year-old understandably isn’t at the forefront of Ten Hag’s plans and the forward, who admittedly carried the club at times last season, has seen his minutes dwindle in 2022/23. Ronaldo’s racked up 525 Premier League minutes thus far, scoring just once.
The player’s relationship with the Dutchman has been frosty throughout his tenure, and it all come to a head during his interview with Morgan for TalkTV.
“I don’t have respect for him [Ten Hag] because he doesn’t show respect for me,” Ronaldo said. “If you don’t have respect for me, I’m never gonna have respect for you.”
Perhaps this is the key reason why Ronaldo wanted to leave the club in the summer, but the 37-year-old simply hasn’t grasped that this is exactly why the likes of Ten Hag and John Murtough were brought into the club: to oversee a revolution.
United’s sub-par facilities in comparison to their domestic competitors have been highlighted by Gary Neville on several occasions, and Ronaldo, upon his return, was seemingly also taken aback.
The Portugal international, who lifted the Champions League with the club in 2008 as well as three Premier League titles, lamented the club’s lack of evolution since Sir Alex Ferguson left in 2013.
“Nothing had changed,” he said. “I love Manchester United. I love the fans, they’re always on my side. But if they want to do it different…they have to change many, many things.
“He [Ferguson] knows better than anybody that the club is not on the path they deserve to be,” the 37-year-old added. United have been through five managers – Ten Hag is the sixth – since Fergie departed Old Trafford as they’ve struggled to even compete for the Premier League title.
“He knows. Everyone knows. The people who don’t see that…it’s because they don’t want to see; they are blind.”
This ties in with Ronaldo’s reasons for wanting to leave in the summer. The striker signed a contract worth just the £480,000 a week when he opted to walk out of Juventus at the end of the 2021 summer transfer window.
Considering the small fee United paid to re-sign him, it’s understandable why they handed the ageing forward such a massive salary. Ronaldo had also been hugely productive in Turin and he somewhat justified his hefty contract by scoring 18 Premier League goals in 2021/22.
Despite his productivity, Ronaldo wasn’t able to fire United into the top four as the Red Devils, off the back of Ralf Rangnick’s terrible stint as manager, finished sixth which condemned them to the Europa League.
As a result, player salaries were reduced by 25% which is reported to have upset the Portuguese great. He is now earning just £360,000 a week.
Nevertheless, a lack of suitors meant Ronaldo remained at United, where his status and significance have slowly decreased ever since.