Erik Ten Hag has broken his silence on the dramatic exit of Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United.
Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United on the backdrop of his tense and uneasy relationship with Erik Ten Hag and the Manchester United hierarchy.
In a controversial interview with his friend and journalist Piers Morgan, Ronaldo said he has ‘no respect’ for Erik Ten Hag because the former Ajax manager does not respect him.
Notably, it is still assumed that Erik Ten Hag has been a major factor in how the United-Ronaldo saga evolved and played out.
Ronaldo returned to Manchester United from Juventus for a second spell with the club that laid the pedestal for his successful and glorious football career.
According to reports, which he confirmed in the controversial interview with Piers Morgan, Ronaldo nearly joined Manchester City before Sir Alex Ferguson intervened and facilitated his return to the Old Trafford club.
The legendary Manchester United forward signed a two-year contract with the Red Devils, with Juventus receiving £12.7million from the deal.
The former Real Madrid star was on a sound footing in his first season with the club. He scored 24 goals in all competitions, finishing as the club’s highest goal-scorer in the 2021/22 football season.
However, Manchester United failed to qualify for the Champions League, finishing 6th on the table. While Manchester United was not tipped as a Premier League title contender, Cristiano Ronaldo consistently reiterated his hope to help the team return to Champions League football.
Manchester United failed to qualify for Champions League. The club slashed the salaries of all players for that reason as the finances was set to be impacted.
Cristiano Ronaldo opted to leave the Old Trafford club as he feared losing out on Champions League football, where he is the all-time highest goal scorer.
Ronaldo and his agent Jorge Mended explored all alternatives to make a move happen, with Ronaldo accepting a pay cut of up to 30%.
Despite their efforts, no club in Europe made offers for Ronaldo. An offer from a Saudi club estimated to be worth £305million was made, but Ronaldo turned it down – a development he confirmed during the Piers Morgan interview.
While Ronaldo explored exit routes from Old Trafford, the Red Devils had recruited the former Ajax manager Erik Ten Hag as the team’s new head coach.
Erik Ten Hag reiterated his eagerness to work with a player of the pedigree of Ronaldo, but the duo ended up in frequent bust-ups both off-pitch and on-pitch.
First, Ronaldo excused himself from the Manchester United preseason campaign overseen by Erik Ten Hag for family reasons.
On return, Erik Ten Hag complained about his fitness. His first game under Erik Ten Hag ended in a face-off. Against Rayo Vallecano, Ronaldo left the stadium before the match ended.
He was benched in Manchester United’s opening Premier League match against Brighton. The game ended in a defeat. Erik Ten Hag started him against Brighton, and the game ended in another loss.
The former Ajax manager had to bench the Portuguese star in subsequent games, giving the nod to the likes of Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Anthony Martial in the frontline after he used them to get results against Liverpool, Arsenal, Southampton, and Leicester City.
Ronaldo struggled for a first-team position under Erik Ten Hag and frequently slipped into collisions with the former Ajax manager. He was suspended after he refused to come on and angrily walked off the stadium in Manchester United’s 2-0 win over Tottenham.
The last straw that broke the camel’s back was his controversial interview in which he slammed Erik Ten Hag, saying he does not have respect for the three times Eredivisie champion.
Ronaldo’s contract was terminated following the interview while he joined Portugal national team at the World Cup.
Since his contract termination, Ronaldo has remained in the spotlights of the media, but his former boss has remained mute.
Now, the former Ajax manager has spoken for the first time from Spain, where he took the remaining members of the Man United squad for a winter training camp.
When asked by former footballer and MUTV presenter Danny Webber about the January transfer window and how he has managed the departure of Ronaldo, Ten Hag said Ronaldo’s saga is in the past and that he is focusing on the future.
”He’s gone and it’s the past. We are now looking forward and we’re looking to the future,” he said.
While Ronaldo’s interview with Piers Morgan played a role in his Manchester United’s exit, Erik Ten Hag was also a factor. But the former Ajax manager has been absolved of blame by pundits, who claim Ronaldo’s attitude contributed to his travail at Old Trafford.