Jermaine Jenas and Jermain Defoe both criticised Cristiano Ronaldo for his incendiary comments about Manchester United on Sunday.
The attacker has thrown several accusations at the club, claiming that he is being “forced out” and that he feels “betrayed”. After claiming not to know who Ralf Rangnick was prior to his appointment as interim manager last year, Ronaldo said he doesn’t have respect for new boss Erik ten Hag because he “doesn’t show respect for me.”
The superstar was excluded from the United squad against Chelsea last month after refusing to come on and walking down the tunnel before full-time in the 2-0 win over Tottenham a few days earlier. Many have come out to share their shock and displeasure at Ronaldo’s outburst, including pundit Jenas.
“I’m totally baffled and confused as to why he’s done this interview,” Jenas said on Match Of The Day 2. “The timing of it – I think it leads you to see how Cristiano Ronaldo is obviously feeling right and how he’s felt all season.
“We’ve seen nothing but almost petulance throughout the whole year with the walking down the tunnel. Today he was supposedly ill. Now he’s doing interviews with Piers Morgan. He’s a frustrated player.
“I’ve said from day one, the whole situation has been mismanaged by the club with Cristiano Ronaldo this year. Whether he feels lied to or not, today just doesn’t feel right to me. He has to be [done at United ].”
However, Jenas did concede how he slightly empathises with Ronaldo in the perspective of Ten Hag “using” Ronaldo to bolster his own status. He explained: “He feels like he is being a little bit used in a way, like he is the black sheep, the one to throw the stick at.
“I do feel like at times with Ten Hag, it enabled him to elevate his position at the football club when he treats Cristiano Ronaldo in a certain way. It enables him to get the dressing room to fall in line.
“But at the same time, Ronaldo does have to behave in line with how the rest of the team does. If I was a manager, he can’t be involved in the team now.
“They’re never going to forget what Ronaldo has done for them but this young lad [ Alejandro Garnacho, who scored the stoppage-time winner against Fulham] looks really exciting.
Meanwhile, fellow ex-England international Defoe branded Ronaldo’s interview “disappointing” and questioned the thinking behind his decision to organise it. He said: “I think it’s disappointing to be honest.
“I mean, he’s got nothing to prove so I can’t understand why he would want to put his point across. Maybe his ego is dented a little bit, he’s not been in this situation before.
“Maybe he doesn’t know how to handle it. You’d like to think there are people around him who would say ‘you don’t have to do this’.”