FAN VIEW: Thanks for everything, Cristiano Ronaldo, but off you pop!

FAN VIEW: Thanks for everything, Ronaldo, but off you pop now! It is REMARKABLE that he feels he can criticise Erik ten Hag and his claim of betrayal is laughably ironic… there won’t be many at Old Trafford who are upset by his inevitable exit

  • Cristiano Ronaldo angered fans with his controversial Piers Morgan interview
  • His belief Erik Ten Hag should bend over backwards for him now is delusional
  • No-one is bigger than Manchester United, not even Ronaldo, and he should go

Cristiano Ronaldo has sparked anger and frustration among Manchester United fans with his incendiary, tell-all interview with Piers Morgan.

Ronaldo’s various claims, allegations and revelations – including that he does not respect manager Erik ten Hag and that he feels he has been ‘betrayed’ by United -have been met with criticism from across the club and from pundits alike.

The fallout to the interview, due to air in full on Wednesday and Thursday, is likely to continue and the sit-down with Morgan could lead to United sacking the 37-year-old Portuguese star.

SCOTT PATTERSON, from the Republik of Mancunia blog, offers his perspective on Ronaldo and why it is time he left Old Trafford for good.

Within hours of claiming a last-gasp win over Fulham on Sunday night, Manchester United fans were greeted with the disappointing news that Cristiano Ronaldo had given a damning interview with Piers Morgan, criticising the club and manager.

Ronaldo has claimed he is being forced out of United by Erik ten Hag, and those higher up, and that he has been betrayed.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s interview with Piers Morgan has sent shockwaves through the club

It came as a surprise for us to hear that because to be forced out, he would have to want to stay in the first place, and it had been well documented in the summer that his agent, Jorge Mendes, had been trying to find a new club for him.

With no Champions League football on offer, supporters were understanding of his desire to leave with the clock ticking on his career. It made sense for a player, who has earned enough to last a hundred lifetimes, to take a huge pay cut and return as a hero to Sporting Lisbon, to play in an easy group and see out his European career on a high. But Saudi Arabian team Al-Hilal were reportedly the only other team willing to pay his salary demands, so he stayed put.

Ronaldo missed the pre-season tour and Ten Hag was bombarded with questions each week about his absence, but insisted he was keen to work with him and that they had enjoyed positive conversations.

‘He is not with us, and it is due to personal reasons,’ the manager explained. ‘We are planning with Cristiano Ronaldo for this season. That’s it and I’m looking forward to working with him. Cristiano is not for sale. Cristiano is in our plans and we want to get success together. I had a good conversation with him. I had a really good talk. [The conversation] is between Cristiano and me. But what I can confirm is we had a really good conversation together.’

Erik ten Hag initially defended Ronaldo in the face of constant questioning over the player

Ronaldo returned for a friendly against Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford. After being substituted at half-time, he left the stadium before the end of the game. When Ten Hag was questioned about this, he jumped to Ronaldo’s defence.

‘Those who left, there were many players who left but the spotlight is on Cristiano and that’s not right, so I think, do your research,’ he said. When pushed on how he felt to have Ronaldo in the squad going forward, Ten Hag again batted the call for criticism away.

‘I’m really happy. I had told you before, we planned with him for the season. We have a top striker and I’m really happy he’s here, he’s in the squad and we stick to the plan,’ he said.

Struggling for match fitness once the season had began, Ronaldo was left out of the starting XI for the opening games of the Premier League campaign, but was given substitute appearances to get him sharper and ready.

Eight appearances in to the season he scored his first goal, from the penalty spot, against Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League. With Anthony Martial’s injury ensuring more regular playing time, his next goal was the winner away to relegation fighters Everton a few weeks later, but it was becoming apparent that United looked a better team without him in it.

Ronaldo scored his first goal of the season in eight attempts in the victory over Sheriff Tiraspol

We comfortably beat Tottenham Hotspur, who at the time were level on points with City in second place, and with Ten Hag looking to see the game out, signalled for Ronaldo to come on. Incredibly, he refused to play, stomped off the pitch and again left the stadium. Having been frustrated that Ten Hag hadn’t brought him on for the embarrassing defeat against Manchester City a couple of weeks earlier, with the manager claiming the decision was ‘out of respect’, Ronaldo was now angry that he had been asked to play.

Ronaldo was understandably then left out of the squad for our next game against Chelsea, and responded by posting a half-arsed apology on social media, acknowledging that he hadn’t set the right example to younger players with his behaviour.

Ten Hag brought Ronaldo back in to the starting line-up for the following game, where he scored his third and final goal of the season, again against Sheriff.

Ronaldo has since captained the side, with Ten Hag seemingly keen to allow for the player’s misdemeanours to be water under the bridge.

It’s therefore remarkable that Ronaldo would feel entitled to criticise the manager. The club going in to the break for the World Cup on a high, on the back of a couple of good results without him, was possibly too much for him to stomach.

The Portuguese star refused to come off the bench in the victory over Tottenham in October

His suggestion that he is the one being betrayed after the way he has behaved over the past few months, when the club and manager have done nothing but accommodate his temper tantrums, is laughably ironic. Ten Hag would have been well within his rights to keep Ronaldo out of the team for more than a game following his departure from the Spurs match, and certainly was under no obligation to give him the captain’s armband. But he was showing he was willing to move on and offering levels of respect even some supporters questioned was warranted.

This season, Ronaldo has averaged a goal for roughly every six hours he’s been on the pitch, playing for the full 90 minutes against the likes of Real Sociedad, Omonoia Nicosia, Aston Villa and West Ham without finding the back of the net.

It begs the question, did United make the right decision bringing their former legendary player back to the club?

With the transfer window near to closing in the summer of 2021, all the reports suggested that Ronaldo was going to be unveiled as a City player, having already decided to leave Juventus.

Fans at Old Trafford have constantly sang Ronaldo’s name despite his displays of petulance

While it was clear the Portuguese forward’s best days were behind him, he’d still managed 30+ goals in the two previous seasons and could provide City with the winning experience and mentality to guide them to elusive success in Europe. But it wasn’t the thought of our local rivals landing a quality player that was upsetting United fans, rather the vision of a player who’d won numerous titles and the Champions League in our red shirt scoring goals for the blues at the Etihad. We’d never hear the end of it.

Their fancammers were SUIIIIing all over the internet, their delight even surpassing that of when they thought Kaka and Wayne Rooney were signing for them.

Thankfully, his legacy remained in tact and, after a conversation with Sir Alex Ferguson, he opted to turn them down in favour of signing for United. The club’s hand had been forced and while the transfer didn’t fit with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans for a continued rebuild, having finished third and then second in the table in the previous two seasons, the deal was greeted with huge relief by United supporters.

Last season he finished the campaign as United’s top scorer with 24 goals and was the third highest scorer in the league, with Mo Salah and Son Heung-min the only players with more goals.

Ronaldo’s struggles on the pitch have been there for all to see in his frustrating season

But this season has been a different story, with time finally taking its toll on one of the greatest to ever play the game, and the team suffering as a result. The situation grew close to humiliating away to Omonoia Nicosia, with his teammates turning themselves inside out, setting him up with one opportunity after another to score his 700th career goal, only for him to fluff it every time. United went on to finish second in the group, resulting in a play-off fixture against Barcelona, on goal difference.

The last day has seen social media flooded with Ronaldo fanboys jumping to his defence, claiming he merely has high standards and is right to call out the club’s deteriorating facilities. But the poor state of the club isn’t news to anyone. Ten Hag has already begun the work behind the scenes and wholesale changes have been made in regards to the decision makers. The club had been allowed to rot thanks to the Glazers and the new manager is addressing that. Ronaldo’s critical interview isn’t doing us any favours and to suggest it’s anything but self-serving is ridiculous.

If United still relied upon Ronaldo, his refusal to play and willingness to throw the new manager under the bus would have been devastating. But as it is, while it’s disappointing seeing him tarnish his reputation and relationship with the club, there won’t be many at Old Trafford who are upset about the prospect of him having played his final game for us. The biggest frustration is that he will likely leave the club and there are no guarantees the Glazers will sanction the funds for a replacement in January.

United fans will always be grateful to Ronaldo following his success in his first spell at the club

Antony and Jadon Sancho have as many goals as Ronaldo this season, but in considerably less playing time, while Martial has four goals in seven appearances, a goal every 70 minutes. Marcus Rashford’s tally more than doubles Ronaldo’s, while Alejandro Garnacho has four goals and assists in the last fortnight alone!

If Ronaldo had more honest people in his entourage he would have been told that his behaviour this season, typified by the recent interview, is entirely unacceptable. He’s embarrassing himself and it’s sad to see.

At his peak, he could get away with this sort of behaviour more easily. He attempted to spoil the summer following the league and European Cup win in 2008, flirting with Real Madrid publicly whenever given the opportunity, but Ferguson begged him for one more season and he obliged.

His belief that Ten Hag, or the manager of any top club, should bend over backwards for him now is entirely delusional. What’s his plan? Who does he think will pay his astronomical wages? Which club will be keen to deal with his evident lack of professionalism for the return of a handful of goals? It’s not 2008 anymore.

Following the famous fall out with David Beckham, Ferguson was clear no player was bigger than the club, and the legendary winger was sold to Real Madrid as a result.

‘The minute a Manchester United player thought he was bigger than the manager, he had to go,’ Ferguson later reflected.

Ronaldo’s first stint was unbelievable, with him helping us win the title three years on the bounce, the Champions League, and other domestic trophies along the way. Last season, he still produced his moments, scoring plenty of goals against the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs.

To go on TV and slag off the manager and the club is unacceptable behaviour from any player

And we’ll always be grateful for that. You can’t take away the magical times he’s given the club because of a few months of bizarre behaviour and poor performances. We sang his name, twirling our scarves in the air, even when he played against us for different sides. He was adored at Old Trafford. He made his mark here and will forever be in our history books. But his time at the club has to end now.

Morgan claimed on talkSPORT on Monday morning that the timing of the release of the interview was to allow for time apart for the World Cup, for the dust to settle, and then for him to return and resolve things, because ‘he loves Manchester United, he loves the fans.’

You can’t go on the telly to slag off the club and say you have no respect for the manager, then expect to continue on, and to suggest otherwise is disingenuous at best and entirely deranged at worst.

So thanks for everything Ronnie lad, you’ve given us some of the best moments of our lives, but off you pop now. No one is bigger than this club, not even you.

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