Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has said that he was not aware of Cristiano Ronaldo’s desire to leave the club until his explosive interview with Piers Morgan last month.
The Portuguese star was in-and-out of the starting line-up under Ten Hag during the first half of the season and he made disrespectful comments towards the manager before the World Cup.
As a result, United took the decision to terminate his contract by mutual agreement and Ten Hag has now revealed that the €20 million-rated star was happy to continue at the club in the summer.
The Dutchman added that the interview was the first time that the 37-year-old revealed his intention to move on.
He said via Sky Sports: “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.”
“The interview was the first time he said he wanted to leave. I think as a club you can’t accept that. There will be consequences. To make that step, [to do the interview] he knew the consequences. Before he [had] never told me.
“During the season there was no transfer window, but until that moment he never told me ‘I want to leave’. 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.”
Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit came at the right time
Ronaldo perfectly timed his interview for the World Cup break. It was probably the right time for United too as they got the opportunity to release him without having to worry about the potential void left by his departure.
With the January transfer window opening soon, the club will be hoping to land a replacement for the Portuguese star. PSV Eindhoven’s Cody Gakpo has been earmarked as the top target but he will cost at least €75 million.
In the past, the club have had the tendency to delay big-money deals until the final days of the transfer window in the hope of bargaining. They must avoid another repeat with Gakpo, who could be in huge demand.
Arch-rivals Liverpool have also been linked with him and they could now make a serious move after another long-term injury for Luis Diaz. United should be wary of the same and must move early for the Dutchman.
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