|Cristiano Ronaldo talks to Portugal coach Fernando Santos during a training session in Qatar. AFP Photo.
I think it’s safe to say Cristiano Ronaldo has played his last game for Manchester United.
The world’s best player (not just my opinion, shared by many) this week pulled the pin from a hand grenade then chucked it in to the footballing world, heading straight in the direction of his current employers.
But before the bomb went off, the Portuguese star was safely miles away from the explosion and in Qatar, where he will captain his country at the World Cup.
I get that he’s jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire somewhat, and will still be well and truly under the spotlight in the Middle East, but at least he’s on foreign soil and far away from any backlash from his Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag. For now at least.
If you’ve been living in a cave for the past week, and missed the news, let me summarise. Ronaldo, in a two-part interview aired on television in the UK, let rip. Big time.
He slagged off ten Hag, current and former teammates, the owners of Manchester United, former sporting director Ralf Rangnick, and the structure of the entire club from top to bottom.
I will always love Ronaldo, and as I said earlier, for me he’s the best player of the past 10 years, edging Lionel Messi. I’d also probably put him in my ‘best there has ever been list’, slightly behind Pele and Diego Maradona.
But was he right to do what he did, and say what he said? I’ve spoken to a few Manchester United supporters who agree whole-heartedly with his comments, particularly about the club standing still since Sir Alex Ferguson left.
Yet they agree the manner in which he decided to spill the beans was questionable, to say the least, as the man he gave the interview to, Piers Morgan, isn’t exactly the most popular of journalists in the UK, or indeed, around the world.
But now he’s done what he’s done, what next for the striker?
I said at the beginning, I don’t think he’ll play at Old Trafford again, not without making a groveling apology and retract his comments, which I don’t for one minute think he will ever consider.
His humongous salary is an immediate red flag flying in the face of any other club wanting to sign him – he reportedly earns a little less than $600,000 a week.
And also you could argue after revealing all on national television, his stock has certainly dropped and many may well regard him as a trouble-maker.
At the time of writing this, there is still ‘Part Two’ of the interview to be aired in the UK, although I’m sure that most, if not all, of the juicy bits have already been revealed.
Whatever more is said, the damage, I fear, has already been done and Cristiano Ronaldo’s time at Manchester United is over. VNS