Five reasons why Cristiano Ronaldo wants end to second spell at Man Utd after explosive Piers Morgan interview

Man Utd striker Cristiano Ronaldo Credit: Alamy
Man Utd striker Cristiano Ronaldo Credit: Alamy

Cristiano Ronaldo completed his fairytale return to Manchester United in 2021 – but it has since turned into something of a nightmare. 

Despite scoring 24 goals in all competitions in 2021/22, Ronaldo often cut a frustrated figure at Old Trafford and he ended a season without a trophy for the first time since 2010.

The 37-year-old tried to leave United ahead of the 2022/23 season and rumours had been growing that he will push for a move away in the January transfer window.

Now, after letting rip at the club and manager Eric ten Hag in a stunning interview with Piers Morgan, the end is surely nigh.

Now, we’ve taken a look at five reasons why Ronaldo has become unhappy at Old Trafford.

Champions League absence

Let’s start with an obvious one.

Ronaldo has been dubbed as ‘Mr Champions League’ because of his unparalleled success in the competition at both a club and individual level.

The Portugal international is the all-time leading goal scorer in the history of the competition with 141 goals and has lifted the trophy five times. 

After being unable to lead Juventus to European glory, he returned to United in 2021 and reportedly felt that they were building towards a new era of success after finishing second in the Premier League in 2020/21. 

But United finished sixth in the Premier League in 2021/22 and qualified for the Europa League rather than the Champions League.

Having played in Europe’s elite club competition for 19 consecutive seasons, Ronaldo’s attempt to leave Old Trafford in the summer was reportedly driven by his desire to represent a team that had qualified for the Champions League. 

He’s since scored two goals in the Europa League but is reportedly worried that Lionel Messi will overtake him in the Champions League scoring charts.

“He wants to achieve Champions League records that he thinks no one else will be able to attain in the future,” Sky Sports News reporter Melissa Reddy said. “He wants to sign off at the absolute highest level.”

Lack of game time

Throughout his illustrious career, Ronaldo has unsurprisingly been one of the first names on a manager’s team sheet.

Ronaldo made 38 appearances in all competitions for United last season but in 2022/23 he has found himself in the unfamiliar position of sitting on the bench.

The forward has started just four of United’s 13 Premier League games this season and has made six substitute appearances in the competition as Erik ten Hag tries to build a side that can press high up the field.

Despite being 37 years old, he doesn’t want to accept a bit-part role at United. Ronaldo reportedly feels he is still capable of operating at the highest level and making a meaningful contribution in big matches. 

“He’s not happy that he didn’t play Sunday, don’t get me wrong,” Ten Hag admitted when asked about Ronaldo after United’s 6-3 defeat to Manchester City.

“But the question was about his mood in training, where he’s happy. Of course, he wants to play and he’s p***** off when he’s not playing.”

His frustration boiled over during United’s 2-0 win over Tottenham as the forward stormed out of Old Trafford after refusing to come on in the final minutes. 

United teammates

According to a new book, ‘Messi vs Ronaldo: One Rivalry, Two GOATs, and the Era That Remade the World’s Game’,  Ronaldo has taken issue with the commitment of his United teammates and believes they lack dedication to stay in shape. 

The Daily Mail adds that the forward privately complained that he is one of the only players in the squad who goes to the gym to do extra work before and after training at Carrington.

During an interview with Premier League Productions in January, he also appeared to criticise the younger players in the dressing room.

“The mature players, the older players can always help the young players,” Ronaldo said. “But, I can give you an example, if I give you advice, even if you are younger than me and if you don’t implant that in a daily life it will be difficult.

“You can speak all day with that person. If he’s not coming from inside of you it’s impossible. I remember when I was 18, 19, 20, some old players speak with me and I put that as, ‘Cristiano, you know you have to improve. They know more than you, they are more experienced than you’. They passed through many bad moments.

“But the other people (youngsters), they don’t accept that if you criticise them. I don’t say this in relation to our players but in general. I have kids, I know. Sometimes when you’re a little bit harder, they do the opposite, you have to find the right balance to speak with them.

“But in my opinion, the main point is it should come from inside you. You should be proud of yourself, look in the mirror and say, listen, I gave everything. And I think all of us should do that.”

According to the Manchester Evening News, Ronaldo now suspects that some of United’s players have been trying to undermine his standing among his peers. 

Manager merry-go-round

Ronaldo only worked under Sir Alex Ferguson during his first spell at Manchester United and has often described his relationship with the legendary manager as a father-and-son bond.

Since returning to Old Trafford, the Portugal international has played under three different managers and has had issues with all of them.

While Ronaldo had a good personal relationship with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Manchester Evening News claimed that Ronaldo quickly came to the conclusion that United would not succeed with the Norwegian as manager.

According to reports, he then disagreed with Ralf Rangnick as to how training should be conducted and called a meeting with the manager to request a change of tactics. ESPN adds that Ronaldo threatened to leave Old Trafford if Rangnick got the United job on a permanent basis.

Ten Hag took over in the summer and has stamped his authority by naming Ronaldo on the bench in eight of United’s 13 Premier League games this season.

According to The TimesRonaldo feels his manager is far too stubborn and unnecessarily wedded to the tactics that he used at Ajax. He’s also complained about the nature and quality of Ten Hag’s training sessions. 

The relationship between the pair appeared to hit rock bottom after Ronaldo refused to play against Tottenham and Ten Hag is reportedly willing to offload him in the January transfer window.

Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag and Cristiano Ronaldo Credit: Alamy
Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag and Cristiano Ronaldo Credit: Alamy

United facilities

Alongside the problems on the pitch, Ronaldo is said to have been disappointed by the declining standards in facilities both at Carrington and Old Trafford. 

Having enjoyed state-of-the-art training facilities during his three years at Juventus, he felt that United’s facilities were not in keeping with a best-in-class sporting institution.

According to The Atheltic, the Portugal international noticed that the club’s swimming pool and sauna had not been upgraded since he first left the club in 2009.

The Daily Mirror adds that he refused to use the swimming pool because loose, chipped and missing tiles posed a safety hazard.

While United did make interim modifications following Ronaldo’s complaints, the Carrington training complex still pales in comparison to other top European sides.

READ MORE: The five clubs Cristiano Ronaldo could join in the January transfer window as Man Utd exit talk gathers pace

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