Erik ten Hag only found out Cristiano Ronaldo wanted to leave Manchester United when he saw the interview where the Portuguese striker said he had ‘no respect’ for the Dutch manager.
The striker has since left United in a exit “by mutual agreement”.
“Until then he never told me ‘I want to leave,'” Ten Hag said
Speaking to British reporters for the first time about Ronaldo’s exit during United’s mid-season trip to Spain, Ten Hag said that once he saw the interview there was no had more return for the player.
“I’ve seen most of it,” the United manager said. “I have to do it. It’s part of my job.
“The interview, I think, as a club you can’t accept it. To take that step, he knew the consequences.
“But before, he had never told me. Until then, he had never said to me, ‘I want to leave’.”
Ronaldo told Ten Hag he could leave the club this summer, when the transfer window was open, after being allowed extra time off as his family tried to deal with the aftermath of his baby’s tragic death. . son.
“In the summer, we had a conversation,” Ten Hag said.
“He came in and said, ‘I’ll tell you in seven days if I want to stay.’ He came back and said he did. Until then [the interview] I never heard anything [else].”
Many observers believe that the situation has worked out quite well for Ten Hag.
His position was strengthened as the club backed him when he dropped Ronaldo for refuse to leave the bench in the win over Tottenham in October.
And now he no longer has to deal with someone capable of grabbing headlines like no other player in the game, as well as the question of how to get Ronaldo to carry out his instructions to press high on the pitch. .
However, Ten Hag doesn’t see it that way and wanted Ronaldo to stay.
“I like working with world-class players,” he said. “I know they can make a difference and help you achieve your goals.
“I wanted him to stay from the first moment until now. I did everything to bring him into the team because I appreciate his quality. We wanted him to be part of our project and that he contributes to Manchester United because he is a great player and has such a great story.”
It’s also possible that Ronaldo was offered a contract extension later in the season should the five-time Ballon d’Or winner indicate his willingness to sign one.
Ten Hag says he was not against the idea of a new contract. “Certainly not,” he said. “Last year he scored 24 goals. What does this team need? We need goals.”
Ten Hag’s first statements on the Ronaldo fallout came to United’s in-house TV channel this week and amounted to six words.
“He’s gone and that’s the past.”
Even today, it was clear that he would rather not talk about it.
“I don’t want to spend energy on it. It’s in the past. We want a new future for Manchester United and he didn’t want to be part of it,” he said.
“All my responsibility is in favor of the club and the team. These are the decisions I have to make and it doesn’t matter who it is.
“This is our current performance. I think our performance will confirm that we are heading in the right direction.”