Ronaldo addresses Man. United exit …wants to become most-capped player in history

Cristiano Ronaldo has spoken publicly for the first time about his Manchester United exit.

After previously playing for Man. United between 2003 and 2009, Ronaldo rejoined the Red Devils in the summer of 2021 from Juventus.

The veteran forward had a contract with the club until the end of the 2022-23 season, but his time at Old Trafford abruptly came to an end in December.

Ronaldo conducted a controversial interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV in November last year, where he criticised various aspects of the club including the Glazer family’s ownership and manager Erik ten Hag.

The Portugal international struggled for playing time under Ten Hag, starting just four of the 12 Premier League appearances that he made this season.

As a result of the explosive interview, Man United took the decision to terminate Ronaldo’s contract.

The 38-year-old went on to sign a lucrative two-year deal with Saudi Arabian club, Al-Nassr, where he has scored nine goals and provided two assists in 10 competitive appearances.

Ronaldo is currently with the Portugal squad, who are preparing for their upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Liechtenstein and Luxembourg.

Speaking in a Portugal press conference, the veteran forward addressed his unceremonious departure from Old Trafford.

“Sometimes, you have to go through some things to see who is on my side,” Ronaldo told reporters. “I have no problem saying, I had a bad career run, but there’s no time for regrets.

“Life goes on and, doing well or not, it was part of my growth. When we are at the top of the mountain, we often cannot see what is below.

“Now, I’m more prepared and learning that was important, because I had never been through this, like in the last few months. Now I’m a better man.”

Portugal are under new management after former Belgium boss, Roberto Martinez, was appointed as Fernando Santos’s successor.

Martinez, who finished in third place with Belgium at the 2018 World Cup, will be hoping to guide Portugal to their eighth consecutive European Championships.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo made no secret on Wednesday of his ambition to notch up another world record – for the number of international caps – a day before Portugal faced Liechtenstein in Euro 2024 qualifiers.

He was named in new Portugal coach Roberto Martinez’s first squad, despite being dropped from the starting line-up for Portugal’s final matches of the World Cup in Qatar.

Ronaldo already holds the world record for men’s international goals, with 118, and the European men’s record of 196 caps, a tally that also equals the world landmark with Kuwait’s Bader Al-Mutawa.

“Records are my motivation,” Ronaldo told reporters.

“I want to become the most capped player in history. That would make me proud.

“But it doesn’t stop there, I still want to be called up very often.”

Ronaldo’s international career began in August 2003 in a friendly against Kazakhstan, and he has represented Portugal in every international competition since Euro 2004.

After the Liechtenstein match, Portugal face Luxemburg on Sunday. – Reuters

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