Manchester United manager Erik Ten Hag has revealed the reason for Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit from Old Trafford, stating the Portuguese superstar had to leave following the events leading up to his contract termination.
Ten Hag was appointed as the new Man United boss during the summer, taking over from interim coach Ralf Rangnick. The Dutchman enjoyed a successful period in charge of Ajax Amsterdam, winning the Eredivisie three times between 2019 and 2022, as well as reaching the Champions League semi-finals in 2019.
Ten Hag’s arrival at Man United was more than welcomed amongst the Red Devil’s faithful who were aware of the pedigree and reputation of the former Bayern Munich assistant coach.
The first few months at the helm of Man United have gone relatively well for Ten Hag. Despite a few shaky results, namely against Brentford, Brighton and Aston Villa, the Red Devils have had a stronger start to the campaign than initially expected, sitting 5th in the Premier League.
The biggest test Ten Hag has had in his short career thus far in charge of the Red Devils has been the management of football icon Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo had seen his game time diminish dramatically this season, often finding most of his minutes in the Europa League as there had been a clear drop-off in results when the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was in the starting eleven.
The lack of game time, as well as the clear success his side were having without him, deeply affected Ronaldo’s ego, and as a result, the former Juventus star refused to be brought on in the final minutes of a match against Spurs, a game that United were leading 2-0.
In addition to refusing to come on, Ronaldo marched down the tunnel before the final whistle and reportedly left Old Trafford before his teammates returned to the dressing room following the win.
A few days prior to the commencement of the World Cup, Ronaldo released an interview conducted by well-known British presenter Piers Morgan. During the interview, Ronaldo launched a scathing attack on Man United from all angles.
Ronaldo claimed that he had been betrayed by the Club, that the owners are only interested in the commercial aspect of the Club, and that he had no respect for boss Erik Ten Hag.
Ronaldo’s comments were met with fierce backlash by United supporters who condemned the remarks aimed at Ten Hag after the fans made it clear he has their full backing.
Soon after the interview, United announced that Ronaldo’s contract had been mutually terminated, bringing a sour end to a truly beautiful love story between the Club and player.
And now Erik Ten Hag has come out and revealed the reason why Ronaldo was forced to leave the Club.
“I think it was quite clear after [the interview] that he had to leave. I think we didn’t have to discuss it. It was quite clear. Richard [Arnold], John [Murtough], me,” said Ten Hag during a luncheon with the Manchester Evening News.
“Yes [I watched the interview]. Not all of it. I have seen most of it. I have to do it. It is part of my job to do it. I went to Uefa (for the coaches’ convention) when it came out.
“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, clear.
“The interview I think, as a club, you can’t accept. There will be consequences. To make that step he knew the consequences. Before he never told me [he wanted to leave].
“As you said, it is the past. We are looking to the future. Move on. I want to go to the future. We want a new future of Manchester United and he didn’t want to be part of it. We move on.
“When he is in good shape, he is a good player and he could help us to get back and achieve the objectives we have. That is quite clear. But he wasn’t.”
Ronaldo’s Portugal side take on Morocco on Saturday in the quarterfinals of the World Cup. However, having been benched for their Round of 16 demolition of Switzerland, it’s uncertain how much game time the Real Madrid legend will get.