Manchester United manager Erik Ten Hag said on Friday that Cristiano Ronaldo never told him he wanted to leave Old Trafford.
United parted ways with the Portuguese star after the veteran forward gave an explosive TV interview in which he said he felt “betrayed” by the club and had no respect for Ten Hag.
“I think it was quite clear after the interview that he had to leave. I think we didn’t have to discuss it,” Ten Hag told the Manchester Evening News.
“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, clear.
“The interview I think, as a club, you can’t accept. There will be consequences. To make that step he knew the consequences. Before he never told me he wanted to leave.”
Ten Hag, speaking at United’s winter training camp in Spain, claimed the 37-year-old, currently playing for Portugal at the World Cup, had even hinted at his desire to remain at the club before the season started.
“Until that moment he never told me ‘I want to leave’,” added the United boss.
“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.”
The Portugal star made his name in his first spell at Old Trafford, developing from a raw but prodigiously gifted teenager into one of the world’s deadliest forwards.
He won three Premier League titles and the Champions League at United but left in 2009 after six years for Real Madrid, where he became the club’s greatest goalscorer, winning the Champions League four more times.
Ronaldo spent three years at Juventus from 2018 before a sensational return to Manchester last year.