MANCHESTER UNITED have been forced into releasing a statement following Cristiano Ronaldo’s explosive interview with Piers Morgan.
Ronaldo hit out at the club for “betraying” him and making him feel like a “black sheep”, blamed for everything going wrong at Old Trafford.
Manchester United have responded to Cristiano Ronaldo’s tell-all interview with Piers Morgan
Club chiefs including Erik ten Hag and John Murtough sat down for talks on Monday.
The striker revealed he does not respect manager Erik ten Hag and blasted the club’s lack of progress since Sir Alex Ferguson left in 2013.
Manchester United club chiefs – including Ten Hag, chief executive Richard Arnold and football director John Murtough – sat down for initial talks to discuss their response.
And the Red Devils made their first move by making a brief statement at 2pm.
The club said: “Manchester United notes the media coverage regarding an interview by Cristiano Ronaldo.
“The club will consider its response after the full facts have been established.
“Our focus remains on preparing for the second half of the season and continuing the momentum, belief and togetherness being built among the players, manager, staff, and fans.”
Sky Sports report the club are also taking legal advice before making their decision on how to punish Ronaldo.
Snippets of the world exclusive interview were released on Sunday night with Ronaldo also hitting out at the Glazers’ ownership as well as former team-mate Wayne Rooney.
United are said to be deeply frustrated with Ronaldo for going on the record with the public interview, which will be shown on TalkTV this week.
United found out about the interview on Sunday evening, just before the team boarded the plane back to Manchester following the last-gasp 2-1 win at Fulham.
However, the club decided not to comment last night to keep the focus on the victory, which leaves United three points off the top four with a game in hand.
The forward – who missed the last two games before the World Cup by telling the club he was ill – is not expected back at Carrington until after the tournament, where he will captain Portugal in Qatar.
Ronaldo has started four of United’s 14 Premier League games this season, scoring just one goal.
The Telegraph report that despite acknowledgement and respect for what Ronaldo has achieved in football, his recent behaviour has disappointed a number of players.
One source said there will “not be a tear shed” if and when Ronaldo leaves while another claimed the dressing room was “not allowing Ronaldo’s tantrums to distract them”.
Ronaldo told Piers: “I don’t have respect for Ten Hag because he doesn’t show respect for me.
“If you don’t have respect for me, I’m never gonna have respect for you.
“The progress was zero. Since Sir Alex left, I saw no evolution in the club. Nothing had changed.
“I think the fans should know the truth. I want the best for the club. This is why I come to Manchester United.
“But you have some things inside that don’t help (us) reach the top level as City, Liverpool and even now Arsenal . . . a club with this dimension should be top of the tree in my opinion and they are not unfortunately.
Ronaldo added: “As [Pablo] Picasso said, you have to destroy it to rebuild it (the artist’s exact quote was: ‘Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.’) and if they start with me, for me, it’s not a problem.
He’s craving the attention… the only way he’s going to do that is by causing trouble and that was exactly his intention with the interview.
“I love Manchester United, I love the fans, they’re always on my side. But if they want to do it different… they have to change many, many things.”
Jamie Carragher and Mark Bosnich were among the players-turn-pundits to hit out at Ronaldo for the interview – and both believe he should be pushed out of United.
Carragher said: “I just thought the comments were bizarre. They were bang out of order considering the timing of it.
“They should be enjoying themselves and then the Ronaldo interview comes out and boom – it’s about negativity.
“Not the team, not the manager – it’s about Cristiano Ronaldo. And it’s been like that since he’s come back. It’s basically been the Cristiano Ronaldo show.
“This season he’s not involved and he’s craving the attention that he can’t get because he’s not on the pitch.
“The only way he’s going to do that is by causing trouble and that was exactly his intention with the interview.
“He wants to be sacked, that’s obvious.”
But Morgan responded on Twitter: “You might change your mind about the interview when you hear what he says about @GNev2.”
Watch ‘Piers Morgan Uncensored: 90 Minutes with Ronaldo’, 8pm on Wednesday and Thursday on TalkTV. Find TalkTV on Sky 526, Virgin Media 606, Freeview 237, Freesat 217 and Sky Glass 508, live and on demand on the TalkTV app, streaming services and at Talk.TV
Ronaldo revealed he did not have respect for Ten Hag.