MANCHESTER: Manchester United said on Friday the club have “initiated appropriate steps” following an explosive inter­view by Cristiano Ronaldo that left his future at Old Trafford in doubt.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner said he did not respect United manager Erik ten Hag and took aim at the club’s owners, the Glazer family, during the 90-minute interview aired on TalkTV.

“Manchester United has this morning initiated appropriate steps in response to Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent media interview,” the club said in a statement.

“We will not be making further comment until this process reaches its conclusion.”

Ronaldo was suspended by the club for a 1-1 draw at Chelsea after refusing to come on as a substitute against Tottenham last month.

The 37-year-old claimed during the interview with Piers Morgan that he felt “provoked” into that reaction by Ten Hag.

A couple of weeks before the Spurs game, Ronaldo had been left on the bench for United’s defeat at Manchester City, with Ten Hag saying he opted not to bring on the Portugal captain in the 6-3 thrashing out of respect for his career.

“You don’t put me on against Manchester City because of respect for my career and you want to put me on for three minutes against Tottenham? It doesn’t make sense,” Ronaldo told Piers Morgan. “I think he did it on purpose. I felt provoked not only because of that game, but before. He doesn’t respect (me) the way I should deserve. But it is what it is. This is why probably, the game against Tottenham, I left.

“I will be honest with you, it’s something that I regret, leaving the stadium (against Tottenham)... A coach to put me in three minutes in a game (is) not allowed for me. Sorry, I’m not that kind of player. I know what I can give to the teams.”

In the wide-ranging interview, Ronaldo also said that United betrayed him and alleged he was being forced out of the club.

United said this week that they would address Ronaldo’s comments that he felt betrayed by the club and was being forced out only after establishing the full facts.

The club added on Friday they had initiated “appropriate steps” in response to Ronaldo’s interview.

“We will not be making further comment until this process reac­hes its conclusion,” United said.

Ronaldo revealed he hopes to keep playing until he is 40 and dismissed reports of a lack of options should he move clubs in the January transfer window.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2022

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