Cristiano Ronaldo knew his interview with Piers Morgan would spell the end of his time at Manchester United, the journalist has said.
Manchester United announced on Tuesday that Ronaldo’s contract with the club had been terminated. In a statement they said Ronaldo’s exit was “mutually agreed”.
Ronaldo’s departure came after he gave a controversial interview in which he criticised the club and the Glazer family, as well as saying he had “no respect” for manager Erik ten Hag.
And, speaking on FS1 in the United States, Morgan said he believes the 37-year-old knew the interview would spell the end of his second stint at Old Trafford.
“To be brutally honest, I think that he knew,” Morgan said when asked whether he thought Ronaldo knew what the repercussions of the interview would be.
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“Look, he’s a very smart guy, Cristiano, he knows what he’s doing.
“He and I have built a relationship going back a few years now, and when he rang me he was like ‘I want to do an interview, I want to say everything.’ I said, ‘if you say everything I think you’re going to say, then you’re probably going to have to leave the club’. He went: ‘I know.’ So he knew what he was getting into.
“He didn’t think it was a certainty, he didn’t want to say in the interview I’m definitely leaving, I’m going to leave United. But this was a guy who at the end of his tenure felt he was being disrespected by the coach, Ten Hag, by the owners who he said he’d never even met (and) by the executives of the club who didn’t even believe him when he said his daughter was sick.
“So you put it all together you’ve got a disrespected guy who I think is the best to ever play the game. He said enough.”
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Ronaldo made World Cup history when he became the first man to score at five tournaments on Thursday, commenting afterwards that the “chapter was closed” on his time at United.
“The most important step was that we won,” he commented after the match.
“This chapter is closed after this week. Now we start on a good foot. I helped my team and now it is done.”
Ronaldo scored from the penalty spot on Thursday as helped Portugal to beat Ghana 3-2 in their opening match of the 2022 World Cup.
Ronaldo’s goal saw him surpass Pele (Brazil), Uwe Seeler (West Germany) and Miroslav Klose (Germany), who all scored at four.
Only one other footballer has scored at five World Cup finals: the Brazilian striker Marta.
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(Photo: Getty Images)