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Cristiano Ronaldo

'I wanted him to stay' - Ten Hag reveals Cristiano Ronaldo did not tell him he desired Man Utd exit before Piers Morgan interview

23:06 GMT 09/12/2022
Cristiano Ronaldo Man Utd 2022
Erik ten Hag has revealed that he didn't know Cristiano Ronaldo wanted to leave Man Utd before seeing his infamous interview with Piers Morgan.
  • Ronaldo left Man Utd by 'mutual consent' last month
  • Preceded by explosive interview with Piers Morgan
  • Didn't tell Ten Hag he wanted out beforehand

WHAT HAPPENED? Ronaldo's interview with Piers Morgan certainly made an impact. Whether it was calling out former coaches in Ralf Rangnick, former teammates in Wayne Rooney or current United boss Ten Hag. He left Old Trafford soon after but the Dutchman at the helm has revealed he wanted Ronaldo to stay.

WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking to UK media in Spain, where Manchester United are holding their training camp while the World Cup takes centre stage, he said: "I wanted him to stay from the first moment until now. He wanted to leave, it was quite clear. And when a player definitely doesn't want to be in this club then he has to go.

"The interview was the first time he said he wanted to leave. I think as a club you can't accept that. There will be consequences. Before he [had] never told me.

"During the season there was no transfer window, but until that moment he never told me 'I want to leave'. 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.

"We wanted him to be part of our project, [for] him to contribute to Manchester United, because he is a great player. He has such a great history, but it's in the past and we have to look into the future."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Ronaldo's second spell at Old Trafford ended acrimoniously, and controversy has continued into the World Cup. He was benched for Portugal's 6-1 win over Switzerland after reacting poorly to an incident that occurred during their final group game against South Korea. With Goncalo Ramos bagging a hattrick against the Swiss, the likelihood of Ronaldo regaining his starting berth is low.

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WHAT NEXT FOR RONALDO? It's unlikely he'll be restored to Portugal's starting XI for their World Cup quarter-final against Morocco on Saturday thanks to Ramos' exploits and he's currently without a club. Saudi Arabia could be a potential destination but for the time being the 37-year-old might just have to put up with playing second fiddle to Benfica's young forward.