Manchester United players had mixed feelings towards Cristiano Ronaldo’s honest interview, according to reports. The Portugal international recently sat down with Sky Sports to talk about life at the club. And it seems his words didn’t please everybody at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo told Sky Sports that he didn’t want to be fighting for Europa League football at United, having previously been aiming for the title.
He also appeared to take aim at some of the club’s young players, too, saying: “I remember, when I was 18, some older players spoke with me and I took that as having to improve, they know more than me as they have more bad moments.
“This new generation in general don’t accept that if you criticise them. I have kids, I know. They do the opposite.”
Now, The Athletic say Ronaldo’s words ‘did not go down well with everyone’.
It’s stated, however, that one high-profile senior player was very supportive of Ronaldo’s comments.
This player has previously attempted to be ‘nurturing’ with the club’s young guns and believed the Portugal international’s harsh approach was ‘necessary’.
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Ronaldo has struck up a close relationship with both Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Dalot.
It’s also believed he’s allied himself with Alex Telles and Fred as well.
But the publication states ‘cliques’ have broken out inside the club’s dressing room and Ronaldo’s words have now stuck a cord.
The veteran is described as a ‘coy participant’ when it comes to training, though he often stays late to try and evolve himself.
Indeed, other sources have revealed the 36-year-old has been surprised that he’s one of the only squad members willing to dedicate extra time to getting better.
Some within the club believe Ronaldo’s return has had a detrimental impact on club captain Harry Maguire, who hasn’t been the same player this season.
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And the veteran has intervened at times throughout his second spell at Old Trafford when team-mates have gone to him.
He tried to rally the players to support Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before the 48-year-old was sacked in November, less than 24 hours after a defeat to Watford.
Ronaldo is not universally popular, however.
Some players at the club think the veteran is difficult to approach, believing Edinson Cavani can be better at giving advice instead.
And whether United are able to get the best from both Ronaldo and the players around him is something only time will tell.
In his interview with Sky, Ronaldo made it clear United should be fighting to finish in the top three – rather than battling for Europa League football.
“Manchester United should win the league or be second or third,” he said.
“I don’t see any other position for Manchester United.
“In my heart, I don’t accept that our mentality be less than being in the top three in the Premier League, in my opinion.
“I think to build up good things sometimes you have to destroy a few things.
“New year, new life, I hope that Manchester can be at the level people want, especially the fans. We are capable of changing things now.
“We can do it better, all of us. I don’t want to be here in the club to fight to be in sixth or seventh place.
“I am here to try to win, to compete. I believe if we change our mind we can achieve big things.”
Ronaldo also stressed Ralf Rangnick must be given time to succeed at the club, despite the German only being given the job until the end of the season.
“Since he arrived five weeks ago he changed many things,” said the forward.
“But he needs time to put his ideas across to the players.
“It takes time but I believe that he is going to do a good job. We know we aren’t playing the best football but we have many games to improve.
“Since he arrived I think in some points we are better, but he needs time.”