Ronaldo felt “provoked” by Ten Hag in substitute row



Manchester: Cristiano Ronaldo has claimed he was “provoked” by disrespecting Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag when he refused to come on as a substitute against Tottenham last month.

Ronaldo was a peripheral figure on the field during Ten Hag’s first season in charge.

In the latest installment of an interview with TalkTV, Ronaldo hit back at criticism after he refused to turn up and left Old Trafford early during United’s 2-0 win on 19 October.

“I think he did it on purpose,” said Ronaldo. I felt provoked. I don’t respect him because he doesn’t show me any respect.”

The club responded by suspending the five-time Ballon d’Or winner for the Red Devils’ next match against Chelsea.

“I think it was a strategy from the club for me to respond in this way,” he added. “I was very, very, very disappointed that Manchester United got on.

“Honestly, I never had a problem with any club, with any coach and they suspended me for three days, which I felt very much.”

In a statement on Monday, United said they would consider the club’s response to the interview once the full facts were established.

Former United captain Gary Neville said on Thursday they now have no choice but to cancel Ronaldo’s contract, which runs until the end of the season.

The 37-year-old was reportedly keen to leave the club even before the campaign began following United’s failure to qualify for the Champions League.

Ronaldo said he rejected an offer from Saudi Arabia of 350 million euros ($364 million) over two seasons and dismissed allegations of a lack of interest from other European clubs.

“The garbage can says nobody wants me, which is completely wrong. I’ve been happy here, excited to have a great season here,” he said while remaining at United.

“But they keep repeating: ‘No one wants Cristiano’. How could they not want a player who last season scored 32 goals including (for the national team).”

Ronaldo revealed that he hopes to continue playing until he reaches the age of 40, but is looking forward to his fifth, and most likely, World Cup finals in Qatar.

The tournament has been shrouded in controversy over human rights abuses in the Gulf state and allegations of corruption in the bidding process.

But Ronaldo said the “focus” should be on football to host the World Cup for the first time in November and December.

“We should just focus on football. Competition for people to enjoy.”

“To be honest, I see a good tournament. Qatar, they are ready. It will be strange to play at the beginning of the season, but it is also a challenge.”


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