Just a few days before the 2022 World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo made headlines with an extensive interview with British broadcaster Piers Morgan.
Ronaldo has used the interview to break his silence on his situation at Manchester United as he appears to be trying to cut ties with the club.
The 37-year-old was keen to leave Old Trafford in the summer but was unable to secure an exit and has struggled to develop a good relationship with new manager Erik ten Hag.
Ronaldo didn’t hold back in his latest interview, with the Portuguese star opening up about the Red Devils, Ten Hag, Lionel Messi, Gary Neville and more.
MORE: Where next for Ronaldo? The clubs that could sign him after the World Cup
The sports news summarizes the best quotes below.
Ronaldo about Manchester United
Unsurprisingly, the focus of the interview was initially Ronaldo’s current team and he was brutal when asked for his opinion on the Red Devils since his return in 2021.
“At United, in my opinion, the progress was zero,” said Ronaldo.
“To compare with Real Madrid and even Juventus that they follow the rest of the world, so the technology, especially in terms of training, nutrition and conditioning, eat right and recover better than before – surprised me.
“Manchester at the moment to compare it to that club, I think it’s lagging behind in my opinion, which surprised me. A club of that dimension should be the top of the tree in my opinion and unfortunately they aren’t. They’re not. But I hope they can reach a top level in the years to come.
“I don’t know what’s going on but since Sir Alex Ferguson left I haven’t seen any development at the club, progress has been zero.”
Ronaldo about Erik ten Hag
In part two of his interview, which will air on Thursday, he will talk in detail about Ten Hag. First snippets suggest that Ronaldo will be quite critical of the Dutchman.
“I have no respect for him because he shows no respect for me,” said Ronaldo.
“If you don’t respect me, I will never respect you.”
Ronaldo about Lionel Messi
Morgan has confirmed that Ronaldo will also be speaking about Messi in part two of his interview and we will update this section with quotes as they are released.
A lot of people ask me if Ronaldo is talking about Messi in my interview… oh yes, and what he says will make big headlines. pic.twitter.com/TbGSRoNXx6
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 16, 2022
Ronaldo over Manchester City
Ahead of his Manchester United return, Ronaldo has been linked with a move to Manchester City and the Portuguese striker has revealed Sir Alex Ferguson was key in preventing a potential deal.
“Well, to be honest, it was close. They talked a lot and Guardiola said two weeks ago that they tried very hard to get me,” he said.
“But as you know, my history is at Manchester United. Your heart, you feel the same as before and it made all the difference. And of course Sir Alex Ferguson. It was a conscious decision because the heart is speaking out loud at this moment.
“I think, it [speaking with Ferguson] was the key. I wouldn’t say Manchester City weren’t close. But I think I did [make] a conscious decision. Someday I won’t regret it.
“And as you said, Sir Alex Ferguson was key. I spoke to him. He said to me, ‘It’s impossible for you to come to Manchester City’. And I said, ‘OK, boss’.”
MORE: How to watch Ronaldo’s interview with Piers Morgan
Ronaldo via Wayne Rooney and Gary Neville
Since returning to England, Ronaldo has been criticized by a range of pundits, including former team-mates Rooney and Neville.
Ronaldo said of Rooney: “I don’t know why he’s so critical of me, I don’t know if he’s jealous of me.
“I really don’t understand people like that or if they want to be on the front page of the news or want a new job or whatever.
“Probably [it’s jealousy] because he ended his career at 30. I’m still playing at a high level.”
On Neville, Ronaldo added: “They don’t really know what’s going on at the training ground, they have to listen to my point of view too. It’s easy to criticize when they don’t know the whole story.”
“They are not my friends, they are colleagues. We played together, but we don’t have dinner together. It’s part of my journey, they criticize me negatively every time. I can continue my journey and I have to catch up with people who like me.”
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 16, 2022
Ronaldo about Diogo Dalot
Ronaldo himself was critical of younger players, both at Old Trafford and elsewhere, but admitted Dalot was a player he admired for his work ethic.
“I can only say what I see from my eyes. At Manchester United I can mention Dalot. He is an example of that, he is young and very professional. I have no doubt that he will have a long life in football. He is young, smart, intelligent and he’s very professional,” said Ronaldo.
Ronaldo is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Despite not being a fan of Ten Hag, Ronaldo had nothing but good things to say about former manager Solskjaer.
He said: “I love Solskjaer. I think he was a top person because what I keep in my heart is the heart of the person. And Ole is a top person for me.
“It is difficult. It’s hard to accept [the role] after Sir Alex Ferguson, but I think he certainly did a good job.
“You need a lot more time. But I never doubt that [he is] I will be a good coach in the future. But it was a good experience. It was a pleasure to work with him, even for a short time.”