Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted he regrets refusing to come on against Tottenham last month, but felt provoked by Erik ten Hag for putting him three minutes before the end of the game.
Ronaldo has been making headlines over the past week after the release of his bombshell interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV, where he slammed the current state of the club, along with heavily criticizing Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag and former teammates including Gary Neville and Wayne Rooney.
In the second part of the interview that was aired on Thursday evening, November 17, Ronaldo spoke about his highly-controversial decision to refuse to come on as a substitute against Spurs and then walking down the tunnel before the final whistle.
‘Piers I will be honest with you, it’s something that I regret to leave from the stadium,’ Ronaldo said.
‘Probably, or maybe no, I don’t know. It’s difficult to tell you 100 per cent but let’s say I regret, but in the same way I felt provoked by the coach.
‘Not allowed for me, a coach to put me in three minutes in a game. Sorry, I’m not that kind of player. I know what I can give to teams.
‘Okay, you don’t put me against Manchester City because of respect of your career and you want to put me three minutes against Tottenham. It doesn’t make sense…
‘I think he did it on purpose because, for example, in a national team the other clubs, if the coach wants to put me five minutes, if someone injured or if they really need me, I will help. But in that way I felt provoked not only because of that game, but before.’
Following the incident, Ronaldo was suspended by the club for three days and was omitted from the squad for their 1-1 draw with Chelsea.
Cristiano Ronaldo says his suspension was humiliating for him.
‘I think it was a strategy from the club for me to react that way,’ he explained.
‘I was very, very, very, very disappointed for the communication of Manchester United. To be honest, I never had a problem with any club, with any coach.
‘And they suspend me (for) three days, which I felt it was a lot – and the level of sport, clubs, I felt a lot. It was a shame, that…
‘I remember arriving home and Cristiano saw me and said “Daddy do (you) not go to the game?” I say “No, because the club punish me with three days”.
‘And he did like [laughs] “How they’re going to punish you if you are the best player in the world and you’re not gonna play?” I said “No I’m not going to play because I have not been behaved”. And he looked at me like, “My Daddy not behave, what?”‘
Ronaldo also went on to claim that he was angered with the way United allowed the media to humiliate him because he believed that his record as a player meant he deserved more than being brought on for the final stages of the 2-0 win.
He said: ‘In one way, I was good because I was like, more relaxed, but in the same way, I feel very disappointed because, okay, I regret, I apologise, I’m not perfect, I made a mistake.
‘But suspend me three days, for that, I think it’s too much. And then they make fire for the press, which really disappoints me.
‘Don’t tell me that the top players, the guys who want everything, the key players will play three minutes.
‘Come on, this is unacceptable after what they keep saying before, that they respect me, that they do this, they do that. For me it was not respect, this is why I take this decision I regret.
‘I apologised to my team-mates for the situation, I did a post, an Instagram, I regret to left from the stadium. I regret my team-mates know what I felt, and I apologised to them, but in the same way, I’m not regret to take the decisions to not come on…
‘The coach didn’t have respect for me. So this is why the relationship, it’s in that way. He keep saying in the press that he come to me, he like me blah, blah, blah but that it’s only for the press. 100 per cent.’
He then added: ‘If you don’t have respect for me, I’m never going to have respect for you.’
Within the interview, Ronaldo also continued to lay into Ten Hag as he insisted that he isn’t a fan of the Dutchman.
‘The feeling he always mentioned to me, that I didn’t need the pre-season so I should wait for my opportunity.
‘I really understand that should, well, okay, I understand. But I’m not going to give you points, but you don’t do it the same procedure to every players. I’m not gonna mention players but they don’t do it the same way.
‘Second, I understand that becoming a new job, Manchester was so bad the last five years that it should make they should clean the house, let’s say in that way.
‘But the way they approach, the way the press make this so big, it’s because… probably the communication wasn’t the best.
‘But I really understand in the beginning because I didn’t do the pre-season, I don’t start to play, but going more further than that, further than that. Other things happen that people they don’t know.
‘And I’m not hiding that the empathy with the coach is not good. I’m honest.’
‘He don’t respect the way I should deserve. But it is what it is. This is why probably, the game against Tottenham, I left.’