‘He’s entitled to air his grievance’ – Souness defends Ronaldo over controversial Man Utd interview

Graeme Souness talks about Man Utd Credit: Alamy
Graeme Souness talks about Man Utd Credit: Alamy

Graeme Souness has defended Cristiano Ronaldo over his controversial interview and thinks the Man Utd striker is “entitled to air his grievance”.

The Red Devils legend did an interview with Piers Morgan on Sunday evening to tell the world the “truth” about his recent struggles at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo criticised Erik ten Hag, former interim manager Ralf Rangnick, Man Utd executives, Wayne Rooney and the whole club infrastructure with many pundits and former players frustrated by the interview.

However, Souness – who recently defended Ronaldo after he refused to come off the bench for Man Utd against Tottenham – has once again stuck up for the Portugal international.

When put to him that he can surely no longer defend Ronaldo, Souness replied on talkSPORT: “I certainly do. It was a meeting, two people speak, two people leave the room with an understanding. And someone has not kept their word.”

When pressed on his conduct in an ‘unauthorised interview’, Souness added: “He feels it’s time for him to come out and tell his side of the story.”

Reminded that Ronaldo refused to come off the bench against Tottenham, Souness continued: “This is a player who’s arguably, in many people’s eyes, the greatest player that has ever kicked a ball.”

When asked if that even matters, Souness responded: “Yes, it certainly does. It certainly does.

“I think with him, he has been told a story and the manager has not kept it. What’s happened after, this ‘so-called agreement’…he doesn’t bring him on against City and the manager says it’s ‘out of respect’. Three weeks later and he wants him to go on against Tottenham when the game’s won. What can Ronaldo do there?

“And then he makes him captain and that for me, looking at it from the outside, I think the player has a grievance and he’s entitled to air his grievance.”

It seems Souness picks and chooses who he defends over similar incidents after criticising Romelu Lukaku in January for voicing his frustration at Chelsea last season.

Lukaku, who moved on loan to Inter Milan in the summer, said he was “not happy” before eventually apologising for the interview.

At the time, Souness said: “We’re trying to understand how a player could get his head where it has been to come out with such a ridiculous and damaging statement.

“I think he has come back (from injury), he’s not gone straight into the team, (there is) enormous disappointment attached to that and he has come out with the nonsense he has come out with, which is totally disrespectful.

“He’s 29 years old (actually 28), he’s not 19. He should have known better that this statement damages the football club enormously.

“It is like walking into the dressing room and saying to the other 25 guys, ‘I don’t want to be with you anymore’. I know what I’d be like, ‘if you don’t fancy it here, there’s the… door, and on you go.

“He has got to hold his hand up and say it wasn’t the right place, ‘I made a mistake, I apologise unreservedly’.

“He has lit a fire, a fire that only he can put out. The solution has to come from him. He can’t be expected to be welcomed back into the fold if he is unrepentant.

“He has got to find a way of saying, ‘Sorry I’ve got it wrong’.”

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