Erik ten Hag has pinned the blame for Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit mainly on the player as Manchester United returned to Premier League action without him.
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United terminated Ronaldo’s contract in November after his jaw-dropping interview with Piers Morgan. Ten Hag has been keen to move on from it as he targets Champions League qualification in the second half of the campaign.
The Dutchman insisted it was Ronaldo’s decision “to say goodbye” in what was a reference to the player’s no-holds-barred interview with Morgan.
When asked by Viaplay about whether he is pleased to have cleared the “tension” with Ronaldo’s departure, Ten Hag said: “The focus is on the resumption of the league. I only see a hungry team.”
Pressed on whether the Portuguese star had disturbed that hunger, he said: “I don’t look back, I only look forward. He chose to say goodbye, he (Ronaldo) is no longer part of it.”
“He’s gone and it’s the past,” the manager told MUTV of the former Real Madrid player. “We are now looking forward and we’re looking to the future.”
As for Ronaldo, he released a statement after news of his contract being terminated. He said: “Following conversations with Manchester United, we have mutually agreed to end our contract early.
“I love Manchester United and I love the fans, that will never ever change. However, it feels like the right time for me to seek a new challenge. I wish the team every success for the remainder of the season and for the future.”