Manchester United defender Raphael Varane has conceded that he and his teammates have been “affected” by Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent comments about the club.
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Ronaldo is desperately seeking an exit from Old Trafford after his bombshell interview with Piers Morgan, in which he accused United of betrayal and trying to force him out.
The Red Devils may be in a position to tear up his contract if they are advised under employment law that his behaviour is a serious breach of discipline.
The Portuguese star is hoping to engineer an exit during the January transfer window but a number of teams have distanced themselves from the player.
Paris Saint-Germain have ruled themselves out alongside a similar stance from Bayern. Even Ronaldo’s former club Sporting Lisbon have poured cold water on a possible approach.
Ronaldo’s explosive interview tore into a number of individual targets at United, alongside the direction of the club. Erik ten Hag and his predecessor Ralf Rangnick were among those to be criticised by the Portuguese superstar.
The timing of the interview – to coincide with the squad breaking up for the international break – is also a major aspect of the development and it is now a possibility that Ronaldo may have played his last game for the club due to the nature of his comments.
“Obviously it affects us,” Varane – who also played with Ronaldo at Real Madrid – admitted on French radio station Europe1. “We follow what is happening and what is being said. We try to ease the situation in our own way, we try not to get too involved in it.”
Varane added: “What is happening at the media level in the big clubs is gaining a lot of momentum. When it is a star like Cristiano Ronaldo, even more, so we try to respond to that with distancing, that is to say that we are not trying to change the situation alone, we are part of a collective.”
Varane’s comments follow defensive partner Victor Lindelof refusing to open up about Ronaldo during a press conference.
“I do not know. I will not answer that question. You get to take the next question,” Fotbollskanalen reported Lindelof as saying when asked about the Portuguese. He was then asked if United had asked him to keep quiet, to which he said: “It’s my decision.”