In this article we look at the Cristiano Ronaldo interview in full LIVE and exactly what he had to say to Piers Morgan as it happens.
90 minutes with Cristiano Ronaldo. The world’s most famous footballer sat down with the controversial Piers Morgan to sensationally slam his manager, the club’s owners, the infrastructure and the way he’s been treated by Manchester United.
You can watch the first part, in full by clicking play on the video below or you can keep refreshing this page with key quotes from his interview.
ON UNITED FANS
‘As I say many many times, the fans, I’m always gonna say good about them.
The fans, they are the most important thing in football. You play for them, they’re always on my side and I feel that every time when I walk in the street, the fans are coming to me and they appreciate what I do for football.
Fans are everything for me.’
ON ALMOST JOINING MAN CITY
‘Well honestly, it was close. It was something that they spoke about a lot and Guardiola said two weeks ago that they tried hard to have me.
But as you know, [because of] my history with Manchester United, your heart, your feeling, what you did before, made the difference of course – and as well, Sir Alex Ferguson.
So I was surprised in some way, but it was a conscience decision because the heart was speaking loud in that moment.’
ON SIR ALEX FERGUSON
‘Yes I did [speak to him]. He said to me that it’s impossible for you to come to Manchester City. And I said ok boss!
‘So I took the decision and I repeat, it was with conscience that it was a good decision.’
ON HIS SECOND UNITED DEBUT
‘That feeling was amazing, but not only the day of the game. I felt it before, the week before, that the world changed. The world was speaking about me, Cristiano’s home, he’s back where he belongs.
So it was a special moment to be back at Manchester United and to perform for our fans and of course to score two goals was the best welcome I have received.’
ON UNITED’S U-TURN
‘Nobody expected [the United move] because things changed around in 72 hours.
They spoke, not only Manchester City but other clubs too, spoke about your name and that you will change Juventus for another club, but Manchester United wasn’t there, wasn’t in that pot of teams.
They surprised everybody, even me to be honest.’
ON THE STATE OF THE CLUB
‘Piers to be honest, when I signed for Manchester United I thought everything would have changed because it’s 13 years since I changed. I was in Real Madrid nine years and three in Juventus, and when I arrived I thought it would be different; the technology and infrastructures and everything.
But I was a surprised in a bad way, because everything was the same, and you mention that Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] was sacked, Michael Carrick assumed the job for two games, and everything was so fast.
But it surprised me a lot, the instability at the club, and they had stopped the clock in my opinion.
ON UNITED’S DECLINE POST-FERGUSON
‘When I signed and they signed Sancho and Varane plus me that things would be in the way that Manchester should be. As you mentioned, Sir Alex Ferguson left a big gap in the club, but not only Sir Alex, one man that I thought made a difference was David Gill. He was a very good man.
The structure around Sir Alex was very important too, and I knew that Manchester United wasn’t the same. But I didn’t see that it was such a big gap over the last 10 years.
Nothing changed. The pool, the jacuzzi, even the gym. Even some parts of the technology, the kitchen, the chefs – which I appreciate are lovely persons – they stopped in time, which surprised me a lot as I thought I would see different things.’
‘After Ole, they bring a sport directive Ralf Rangnick, which is something nobody understands.
This guy is not even a coach. A big club like Manchester United bringing a sport directive surprised not only me but all the world.
Of course [it was a ridiculous decision]. If you’re not even a coach, how are you going to be the boss of Manchester United? It’s something that I should say that Manchester has followed not the right way to reach the success of other teams like Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea… they are one step behind or two because of these kind of mistakes.
No [I’d never heard of him]. Of course not. Nobody, the people who I spoke to knew. I respect [him], all the coaches in my career I had to call them the boss, but deep inside me I never saw him as the boss because I saw some points that I never agreed.
He stopped in time as well because if you’re not being a coach for the last five years, you’re going to lose your identity as a coach.’
ON NOT FITTING INTO RANGNICK’S PRESSING SYSTEM
‘To be honest, it’s something that I don’t understand. The new coaches that are coming around, they think they’ve found the last Coca Cola in the desert. I don’t understand.
I respect any coach that has a different approach or different mentality, but there are some points where you don’t agree. I’ve always been like that in my life.
I’ve always been beside the best coaches in the world; Zidane, Ancelotti, Mourinho, Fernando Santos, Allegri… so I had some experience because I learned from them.
And when you see some coaches who want to come and revolutionise the football, I don’t agree, I have my opinion and they disagree – but it’s part of the business.
At the end of the day I’m in a club to win, and with my experience I want to help like always. Some coaches they don’t accept and that is part of the job.’
ON RANGNICK’S SUITABILITY FOR UNITED
‘No [he didn’t know what he was doing]. They know the club very well, but they don’t know the dimension of the club inside, the history of the club, which surprised me even more. To sack Ole Solskjaer, you should bring a top manager, not sport directive.
I love Solskjaer. I think he was a top person, because what I keep inside my heart is the heart of the person, and for me Ole is a top person.
Coach? Of course, he didn’t look for what he wants. It’s hard to assume after Sir Alex Ferguson, but I think he did a good for sure and he needed more time.
I don’t doubt that he will be a good coach in the future, but it was a good experience. I was so pleased to work for him, even though it was a short period.’
ON UNITED’S YOUNG PLAYERS
‘I don’t think that they don’t respect the more experienced players or the older players, but they live in a different era. I can say that for my kid that’s 12 years old, the mentality is not the same.
Their hunger [is different]. I think they have things more easily, everything’s easy, they don’t suffer – and they don’t care.
I don’t mean only a few in Manchester United, but all the teams in all leagues in the world, the youngers are not the same of my generation. But you cannot blame them, because it’s part of the life and the new generation, the new technologies that distract them.’
WHAT HAS BEEN MADE OF THE INTERVIEW SO FAR
Rio Ferdinand said he can no longer defend his former team-mate following the outburst, which he believes was set up to force through a transfer in January.
‘You can’t sit here and defend that from Cristiano Ronaldo,’ Ferdinand said on his ‘Vibe with Five’ podcast.
‘Deep down and I know it for a fact, this has all been manufactured for one thing – and that’s for him to leave the club.
‘This love affair with Man United that Cristiano has had is over in my eyes. I don’t feel there’s anyway back, I don’t feel the club will take him back and I don’t think that he wants to come back. This is all manufactured for that reason.
‘Up to this interview I would defend him, and say the club have a big responsibility to communicate better.’
Man Utd are said to be exploring ways of sacking Ronaldo over his interview with Morgan, Sportsmail revealed earlier this week.
It is understood that lawyers for United are studying his claims that he feels betrayed by the club and has no respect for Ten Hag to see if this constitutes a breach of his contract.
United are waiting to view the rest of the interview and issued a statement on Monday saying that the club ‘will consider its response after the full facts have been established’.
Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has had his say on Cristiano Ronaldo’s tell-all interview which will surely rock the Manchester United dressing room to its very core.
“Ronaldo “I don’t respect the manager” – Ronaldo under ETH: Announced he wanted to leave, refused to come on as a substitute, walked off the bench & left before the game had finished.
“99% of United fans will be on the side of ETH, which shows how badly Ronaldo has handled this.”
Cristiano Ronaldo took aim at former Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney after criticism of him; Ronaldo: “He finished his career in his 30s. I’m still playing at a high level.”; Sky Sports News understands Rooney is bemused by Ronaldo’s comments but feels no animosity towards him.
It is understood the Three Lions all-time leading goal scorer has always maintained that Ronaldo is one of the two best players in the world – alongside Lionel Messi.
But he adds that the 37-year-old needs to accept he is in the latter stages of his career, and being a player at a club the size of Manchester United, means respecting the situation and not expecting to play every minute of every game.
Sky Sports News has been told that Rooney feels no animosity towards Ronaldo.