Soccer  

Ten Hag in dark over future before explosive interview

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag said he only discovered that Cristiano Ronaldo wanted to leave the Premier League club after the forward’s explosive interview with TalkTV, in which he said he did not respect the Dutch manager.

In the interview with Piers Morgan last month, Ronaldo also said he felt betrayed by the club and added that he had refused to come on as a substitute in a Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur because he felt “provoked” by Ten Hag.

Following the interview, United announced that the Portugal international, who rejoined the club in August 2021 after winning eight major trophies with them from 2003-2009, would leave with immediate effect.

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“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,” Ten Hag told British media on Friday.

“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. To make that step, he knew the consequences. Before he (had) never told me.

“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’.”

Prior to the interview with TalkTV, Ten Hag had said on multiple occasions that Ronaldo was a part of his plans for the campaign, with the Dutchman reiterating that he had wanted the forward to stay at United.

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“I like to work with world-class players,” Ten Hag added. “I know they can make a difference and help you to achieve your objectives.

“I wanted him to stay from the first moment until now. I did everything to bring him into the team because I value his quality.

“We wanted him to be part of our project and for him to contribute to Manchester United because he is a great player and has such a great history.”