Sky Sports’ Gary Neville says there is “no way back” for Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United after his explosive criticism of the club and manager Erik ten Hag.
Neville, who was himself criticised by Ronaldo during his interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV, has told Sky Sports he cannot see the Portugal forward playing for the club again.
“No, and l don’t think he wants a way back,” Neville said. “He wouldn’t have done this interview if he wanted a way back. He knew it would bring the headlines it has and be the end of his Manchester United career.”
Manchester United have not yet indicated what action they make take following Ronaldo’s interview.
“I’m wondering what Man Utd are doing because the reality of it is they know they have to terminate Cristiano’s contract or they basically open up a precedent so any player can criticise them in the future,” added Neville.
“I agree with some of the things Cristiano has said and many Man Utd fans will agree with many things Cristiano has said but the reality is if you’re an employee within a business and say those things your employment has to terminate and Man Utd have to do that in the next few days.
“Cristiano probably wants that as well but it didn’t need to end like that. They could have come together a couple of weeks ago and navigated a pathway through what could have potentially been choppy seas to the shore but it’s not happened, they’ve both basically backed themselves into a corner.
What did Ronaldo say about Neville and Rooney?
“People can have their own opinions.
“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.”
“I think he’s – over a period of many, many months – stored up pent-up frustration, he’s not done any interview at all this season for any broadcaster. United are on nearly every single week and I suspect he’s been asked to do an interview after every game, every single week and he’s chosen not to speak. He’s felt he’s needed to come out and say his piece and get off his chest what’s been bugging him.
“I don’t know what he thought in respect of what United fans would think [about the interview]. I’ve called for many years for football players to be open, to be independent thinking and come out and speak their minds and not be micro-managed with an inch of their lives by PR teams. I can’t think that’s happened here – I can’t think any PR advisor would have told him to go and do what he’s done.
“He would have done this off his own back with his own strength of character and personality. There was probably another way to do it but that was from the club’s side and Cristiano’s side, when I had that debate in the studio after the Chelsea game three or four weeks ago with Roy Keane, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Dave Jones, I urged Man Utd and Cristiano to come together that week because it was obvious the relationship was failing or had failed and to navigate a pathway to January or the World Cup where they created a truce. Exits don’t have to happen this way if both sides are proactive and mature. I’m disappointed that meeting doesn’t seem to have happened.
“Cristiano hasn’t been controlled or managed, it doesn’t look like he’s reached out to the club and opened communication lines. We’ve ended up with this quite unsavoury situation whereby it looks like Cristiano is going to end this period of his reign at Man Utd in not a great a feeling as it should be.
“He’s one of the greatest players ever to play the game in the world and certainly one of Man Utd’s greatest ever player. I remember when players left Man Utd when I was there and it didn’t always end in the right way and it never felt right. And as a fan it doesn’t feel right that someone I played with needs to leave the club in this way, or the club need to end it this way.”
More to follow…
Piers Morgan Uncensored: 90 Minutes with Ronaldo continues on TalkTV on Thursday at 8pm.