Ronaldo says ‘unacceptable’ Ten Hag ‘provoked’ him to storm down tunnel vs Spurs

Jason Soutar
Cristiano Ronaldo looks over his sholder

Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed why he refused to come off the bench and stormed down the tunnel in a game against Tottenham.

The second half of Ronaldo’s interview with Piers Morgan was released on Thursday evening.

In this section, he started off by referring to Wayne Rooney – who has been critical of him in recent months – as ‘one of the rats’. Lovely.

Ronaldo attracted plenty of criticism last month when he stormed down the tunnel before full-time in a Premier League match at home to Spurs.

It was later revealed that United manager Erik ten Hag had asked Ronaldo to come off the bench for the final three minutes, but he refused and then decided to leave the pitch.

The 37-year-old admits that he does feel some “regret” from doing that, but said Ten Hag’s decision to substitute him on with three minutes left was “unacceptable” and “provoked” him to walk down the tunnel in disgust.

“I will be honest with you, it’s something that I regret to left from the stadium,” Ronaldo told Piers Morgan for TalkTV.

“Probably, or maybe no, I don’t know. It’s difficult to tell you 100% but let’s say I regret, but in the same way I felt provoked by the coach.

“Not allowed for me, a coach to put me in three minutes in a game. Sorry, I’m not that kind of player. I know what I can give to the teams.”

Ronaldo added: “I think it was a strategy from the club for me to react that way.

“I was very, very, very, very disappointing for the communication of Manchester United. To be honest, I never had a problem with any club, with any coach.

“And they suspend me three days, which I felt it was a lot – and the level of sport, clubs, I felt a lot. It was a shame.”

Ronaldo went into some depth about the three-day suspension following his lack of respect for Ten Hag.

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He said the punishment was humiliating and even had to explain the situation to his son.

“But I remember arriving home and Cristiano see me and say ‘Daddy do not go to the game?’ I say ‘No, because the club punish me with three days’.

“And he did like (laughs). ‘How they’re going to punish you if you are the best player in the world and you’re not gonna play?’ I said ‘No I’m not gonna play because I have not been behave’. And he look at me like, ‘My Daddy not behave, what?’

“In one way, I was good because I was like, more relaxed, but in the same way, I feel very disappointed because, okay, I regret, I apologise, I’m not perfect, I made a mistake.

“But suspend me three games, for that, I think it’s too much. And then they make fire for the press, which really disappoints me.”

Ronaldo was clearly offended to have only been called upon for the final three minutes of a match that was already won.

He felt a lack of “respect” from Ten Hag in this situation but did say that he apologised to his teammates.

“Don’t tell me that the top players, the guys who want everything, the key players will play three minutes,” the Real Madrid legend said.

“Come on, this is unacceptable after what they keep saying before, that they respect me, that they do this, they do that.

“For me it was not respect, this is why I take this decision I regret. I apologised to my teammates for the situation, I did a post, an Instagram, I regret to left from the stadium

“I regret my teammates know what I felt, and I said to them apologised, but in the same way, I’m not regret to take the decisions to not come on… The coach didn’t have respect for me.

“So this is why the relationship, it’s in that way. He keep saying in the press that he come to me, he like me blah, blah, blah but that it’s only for the press. 100 per cent.

“If you don’t have respect for me, I’m never going to have respect for you.”

Ronaldo was also condemned for leaving a pre-season friendly early.

He was seen leaving Old Trafford before the full-time whistle in a match against Rayo Vallecano, but was not impressed to see the media focus on him when he was one of “eight players” to do so.

He said: “Me and eight players, but they mentioned only my name…everyone do that.

“Last year, many players did the same. In that game eight players do the same but they only speak about the black sheep which is me, which is, I completely understand, okay, it’s done, I apologise to the coach and for me, the chapter was closed.”

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