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Ronaldo slams United’s young players and reveals Fergie talked him out of City signing

“I don’t think that they don’t respect the more experienced players or the older players, but they live in a different era”

Cristiano Ronaldo© Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo says Manchester United’s young players “don’t care” and “live in a different era”.

The first part of Ronaldo’s explosive interview with Piers Morgan aired last night, with the Portugal star taking aim at his team-mates and he also revealed how Alex Ferguson talked him out of signing for Manchester City last year.

With clips drip fed in the days leading up to last night’s first episode (it concludes tonight), more talking points to emerge include his criticism towards modern day players.

“I don’t think that they don’t respect the more experienced players or the older players, but they live in a different era. I can say that for my kid that’s 12 years old, the mentality is not the same.

“Their hunger (is different). I think they have things more easily, everything’s easy, they don’t suffer - and they don’t care.

Cristiano Ronaldo claims he has been “betrayed” by Manchester United

“I don’t mean only a few in Manchester United, but all the teams in all leagues in the world, the youngsters are not the same of my generation. But you cannot blame them, because it’s part of the life and the new generation, the new technologies that distract them.

“They listen but this is why we have two ears, as you listen from one side and they go away from another side.

“It doesn’t surprise me. But in the same way it’s a shame because if they have the best examples in front of your eyes, and if they don’t at least copy what you did.

“For me, it’s kind of weird, because I remember when I was 18, 19, 20, I always looked to see the best players in Van Nistelrooy, Ferdinand, Roy Keane, and Giggs - this is why I have the success that I have and longevity.

“I take care of my body, my mentality, my head, because I see these guys and I learn from them.”

When asked what players he admires from the current crop of United stars, he only named three.

“In Manchester United I can mention Dalot, he’s young, but very professional but I don’t doubt that he’s going to have longevity in football because he’s young, he’s smart, intelligent and he’s very professional. Probably Martinez, Casemiro is in his 30s, but I will say Dalot.”

Ronaldo said he was close to signing for bitter rivals Manchester City last year but former manager Alex Ferguson asked him not to.

Ronaldo said Ferguson persuaded him to re-join United for a second spell at Old Trafford when he moved from Juventus in August, 2021 on a two-year deal, returning to the club where he won eight major trophies from 2003-2009.

“Well, honestly, it was close . . . it’s something they spoke (about) a lot and (Manchester City manager Pep) Guardiola said two weeks ago, I guess, that they tried hard to have me,” Ronaldo (37) told Piers Morgan in an interview for TalkTV, the first part of which was aired yesterday.

“But, as you know, as my history (was) in Manchester United, your heart, your feeling . . . make the difference. And of course, as well, Alex Ferguson.

“I was surprised . . . but it was a conscious decision. Because the heart speaks, speaking loud in that moment.”

He added that Ferguson’s intervention helped him make up his mind to join United.

“I think it was the key. It was the difference in that moment, but I cannot be loyal if I will, I wouldn’t say that Manchester City wasn’t close,” Ronaldo said.

“I spoke with him (Ferguson) . . . he said to me that, ‘It’s impossible for you to come to Manchester City’.

“And I say, ‘OK, boss’. So I took the decisions and . . . it was a good decision.”

In an excerpt of the interview published on Sunday, Ronaldo said United had betrayed him and alleged he was being forced out of the club.

The Portugal forward also said United did not support him when his daughter was taken to hospital in July, doubting him and showing a lack of empathy when he did not arrive on time for pre-season training.

United said on Monday they would address Ronaldo’s comments after establishing the full facts.

Ronaldo missed a training session with Portugal yesterday because of a stomach bug that will rule him out of a World Cup warm-up match against Nigeria.

Portugal are scheduled to play against Nigeria in Lisbon today on Thursday before flying to Qatar, and coach Fernando Santos said Ronaldo will not feature in the game.

Portugal’s opening group game at the World Cup is against Ghana on November 24. South Korea and Uruguay are also in the group.

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