Cristiano Ronaldo’s focus is now firmly on securing World Cup glory with Portugal as he attempted to brush off the furore over his explosive interview with Piers Morgan in which he hit out at Manchester United.
The 37-year-old accused the club’s hierarchy of trying to force him out during the summer transfer window and also heavily criticised manager Erik ten Hag, saying he would ‘never respect’ the Dutchman.
United released a statement on Monday saying they would ‘consider their response after the full facts have been established’, with the full 90-minute interview airing later this week.
At the very least, Ronaldo is likely to be fined two weeks’ wages while there are also suggestions that United are considering ripping up the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s contract if he does not demand a pay-off.
Ronaldo’s interview has overshadowed an otherwise promising end to the season for the Red Devils, who secured three points at the death against Fulham on Sunday afternoon and are still competing in four competitions.
But the former Real Madrid and Juventus star is clearly paying little attention to the chaos and drama he has created, posting a defiant message from Portugal’s pre-World Cup training camp on Monday evening.
Alongside a selection of pictures from training, he wrote: ‘Total and absolute focus on national team work.
‘A united group working towards one objective: realising the dream of all Portuguese people!’
Ronaldo’s interview with Morgan is believed to have been filmed over the weekend despite the forward having missed United’s last two matches due to ‘illness’, while he showed no ill effects in Monday’s training session with Portugal.
Writing in his column for The Sun, Morgan said of Ronaldo: ‘The interview, as viewers will see, is jaw-dropping because we so rarely see or hear him like this.
‘I’m not sure how this saga ends, other than it’s hard to see how Cristiano Ronaldo can return to Manchester United after this.
‘But for now, he wants to focus on the World Cup, and “win it for Portugal”, and then come back and resolve things with United, one way or another.’
United had hoped to get a transfer fee for Ronaldo in the summer but are now prepared to let him leave for nothing as they look to remove themselves of a very unwanted distraction.
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