Just days out from the 2022 World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo has made headlines by giving an in-depth interview with British broadcaster Piers Morgan.
Ronaldo has used the interview to break his silence about his situation at Manchester United as he seemingly looks to sever ties with the club.
The 37-year-old was eager to leave Old Trafford over the summer but was unable to secure an exit and has struggled to form a good relationship with new manager Erik ten Hag.
Ronaldo hasn’t held back in his latest interview, with the Portugal star discussing the Red Devils, Ten Hag, Lionel Messi, Gary Neville and much more.
MORE: Where to next for Ronaldo? The clubs that could sign him after the World Cup
The Sporting News rounds up the best quotes below.
Ronaldo on Manchester United
Unsurprisingly, the initial focus of the interview was on Ronaldo’s current team and he was brutal when asked for his thoughts on the Red Devils since his return in 2021.
“At United, the progress was zero, in my opinion,” Ronaldo said.
“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 properly and to recover better than before – surprised me.
“Manchester right now to compare with that club, I think it’s behind in my opinion, which is something that surprised me. A club with this dimension should be the top of the tree in my opinion and they are not, unfortunately. They are not in that level. But I hope the next years they can reach to be in a top level.
“I don’t know what’s going on but since Sir Alex Ferguson left I saw no evolution in the club, the progress was zero.”
Ronaldo on Erik ten Hag
Set to talk in-depth about Ten Hag in part two of his interview which will air on Thursday, early snippets suggest Ronaldo will be quite critical of the Dutchman.
“I don’t have respect for him because he doesn’t show respect for me,” Ronaldo said.
“If you don’t have respect for me, I’m never gonna have respect for you.”
Ronaldo on Lionel Messi
Morgan has confirmed that Ronaldo will also discuss Messi in part two of his interview and we’ll update this section with quotes once they are released.
Lots of people asking if Ronaldo talks about Messi in my interview.. oh yes, and what he says will make huge headlines. pic.twitter.com/TbGSRoNXx6
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 16, 2022
Ronaldo on Manchester City
Prior to re-joining Manchester United, Ronaldo was linked with a move to Manchester City and the Portugal forward has revealed Sir Alex Ferguson was key in preventing a possible deal.
“Well, honestly, it was close. They spoke a lot and Guardiola said two weeks ago that they tried hard to have me,” he said.
“But, as you know, my history is in Manchester United. Your heart, you’re feeling the way you did before, and it made the difference. And of course, as well, Sir Alex Ferguson. It was a conscious decision because the heart speaks loud in that moment.
“I think it [speaking with Ferguson] was the key. I wouldn’t say that Manchester City wasn’t close. But I think, I did [make] a conscious decision. I don’t regret at some point.
“And as you mentioned before, Sir Alex Ferguson was the key. I spoke with him.He said to me that, ‘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 on Wayne Rooney and Gary Neville
Since his return to England, Ronaldo has been critcised by a number of pundits, including former teammates Rooney and Neville.
On Rooney, Ronaldo said: “I don’t know why he criticises me so bad, 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 cover of the news or they want a new job or whatever.
“Probably [it’s jealousy] because he finished his career with 30s. I’m still playing 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 as well. It’s easy to criticise if they don’t know the whole story.
“They are not my friends, they are colleagues. We played together but we’re not having dinner together. It’s part of my journey, they keep criticising me with negativity every time. I can continue my trip and I have to catch up with people who like me.”
You can watch a repeat of Part 1 of my Ronaldo i/v at 11pm on @PiersUncensored @TalkTV or on @YouTube here: https://t.co/LAxjuSsuNT
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 16, 2022
Ronaldo on Diogo Dalot
Ronaldo has himself also been critical of younger players both at Old Trafford and elsewhere, but admitted Dalot was one player he admired for his work ethic.
“I only can say what I see from my eyes. In Manchester United, I can mention Dalot. An example he is young and very professional. I have no doubt he will have longevity in football. He’s young, smart, intelligent and he’s very professional,” Ronaldo said.
Ronaldo on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
While Ronaldo is no fan of Ten Hag, he only had good things to say about previous manager Solskjaer.
He said: “I love Solskjaer. I think he was a top person, because what I keep inside my heart, it’s the heart of the person. And Ole for me, is a top person.
“It’s hard. It’s hard to assume [the role] after Sir Alex Ferguson, but I think he did a good job for sure.
“You need much more time. But I never doubt that [he is] going to be a good coach in the future. But it was a good experience. I was so pleased to work with him even for a short period.”