Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has finally broken his silence on Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit from the club a few weeks ago.
Ronaldo gave a much-publicized and venomous interview to British journalist Piers Morgan, in which he blasted the club for a lack of ambition and for trying to force him out. He also said that due to Ten Hag’s disrespect, he does not hold the Dutch boss in high regard.
In an interview with The Manchester Evening News, Ten Hag responded to Ronaldo’s damning accusations and had his say on the striker’s acrimonious divorce from United.
Ten Hag said that the way Ronaldo chose to leave the club was sad, unfortunate and unnecessary. He confirmed that he wanted to work with Ronaldo, but since the Portugal international was not in good shape, he couldn’t get a tune out of him.
The United manager was quizzed on whether he knew that the 37-year-old wanted to leave. He replied, “I wanted him to stay from the first moment until now. He wanted to leave, it was quite clear. And when a player definitely doesn’t want to be in this club then he has to go, clear.”
“The interview I think, as a club, you can’t accept. There will be consequences. To make that step he knew the consequences. Before, he never told me. During the season there was no window but until that moment he never told me: I want to leave.”
Ten Hag added after being asked if Ronaldo didn’t have the decency to tell him he wanted an exit, “Yes, so it is. In the summer we had one talk. He came in and said ‘I will tell you in seven days if I want to stay’. Then he came back and said ‘I want to stay’. Until that moment (the interview) I never heard anything.”
Ten Hag refused to agree with the dominant sentiment that he’s a better manager after his handling of the Ronaldo fiasco.
The United boss confirmed that the decision to let the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was arrived at jointly between himself, Richard Arnold and John Murtough. Ten Hag thanked supporters for their endless support and their backing of him throughout the saga.
Looking back, the Dutchman surprisingly remarked that he would have theoretically handed Ronaldo a new deal at United. He gave his reason for this argument – Ronaldo scored 24 goals last year and going forward would have been a reliable source of goals for the club.
In true Ten Hag fashion, he insisted that everyone needs to move forward and leave the Ronaldo matter in the past.
Indeed, the United boss has come out of this stronger than ever. Without a shadow of a doubt, everyone now knows who’s in charge.