MANCHESTER, United Kingdom (AFP) — Cristiano Ronaldo said he felt “betrayed” by Manchester United as he claimed manager Erik ten Hag and other senior executives are trying to force him out of the club in an explosive interview on Sunday.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has been a peripheral figure on the field for United since Ten Hag took charge in May.
Ronaldo was disciplined after refusing to come on as a substitute in a 2-0 win over Tottenham last month, but had returned to the side in recent weeks and even captained the Red Devils in a 3-1 loss at Aston Villa last weekend.
However, the 37-year-old was absent from the squad in Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Fulham in United’s last match before a six-week break for the World Cup.
“I don’t have respect for him because he doesn’t show respect for me,” Ronaldo said of Ten Hag in an interview with the Piers Morgan Uncensored TV show.
“Not only the coach, but another two or three guys around the club. I felt betrayed.”
When quizzed again if senior club executives were trying to oust him, Ronaldo replied: “Yes, I felt betrayed and I felt like some people don’t want me here, not only this year but last year too.”
Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford in August 2021 from Juventus.
His first spell at United had been a glorious one under the tutelage of Alex Ferguson, winning three Premier League titles, the Champions League and the first of his Ballon d’Or crowns as the best player in the world.
Despite his 24 goals in all competitions last season, United endured a terrible campaign as they finished sixth in the Premier League and failed to qualify for the Champions League.
Ronaldo then reportedly tried to engineer an exit before the start of this season, but no agreement could be found with another club.
“Since Sir Alex left, I saw no evolution in the club. Nothing had changed,” said Ronaldo on what he found on his return to United.
“I want the best for the club. This is why I come to Manchester United.
“But you have some things inside that don’t help (us) reach the top level as (Manchester) City, Liverpool and even now Arsenal…a club with this dimension should be top of the tree in my opinion and they are not unfortunately.”
United are fifth in the Premier League, 11 points behind leaders Arsenal.