Johannesburg – Cristiano Ronaldo’s outburst this week against Manchester United has attracted conflicting opinions across the sporting fraternity.
Some suggest that the Portugal national team captain is being blunt and honest in his assessment of the Red Devils, backed up by the fact that the club has not seen much success on the field since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson as manager in 2013.
Detractors of Ronaldo (37) argue that his outburst came as a result of him failing to accept that father time is calling upon him and that his time as an elite footballer has come to an end.
Controversial British Journalist Piers Morgan who conducted the interview took no time in taking to social media to share his views. Morgan, who is affiliated to an equally controversial media outlet The Sun, branded it one of the greatest interviews that he has done in his Journalism career.
“That was my all-time favourite interview. A sporting icon baring his soul as never before & doing it with such raw honesty & passion, knowing it would attract a lot of heat but believing it was time to speak out. Thanks,” wrote Morgan on Twitter.
That was my all-time favourite interview. A sporting icon baring his soul as never before & doing it with such raw honesty & passion, knowing it would attract a lot of heat but believing it was time to speak out. Thanks @Cristiano – you’re a class act, on & off the pitch. pic.twitter.com/4hwTzk7Lhj
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 17, 2022
South African born former English cricketer Kevin Pietersen was one who came to the defence of Ronaldo, arguing that most who are criticising Ronaldo simply do not know what he is going through. While prolific as a player, Kwa-Zulu Natal born Pietersen attracted heavy criticism in equal measure from the nation of his birth, South Africa and later from his adopted nation, England due to his off the field antics.
“I’ve watched this CR story and having been in a similar position, I sympathise with him. People have NO IDEA what it’s like to have constant lies and speculation written about them all the time.
People having breaking points.
“Very easy to blame him but before you do, think,” stated Pietersen on Twitter.
Arsenal legend Ian Wright took a different view, indicating that Ronaldo’s views are as a result of him finding it difficult to accept that his career is coming to an end.
Wright has suggested that Ronaldo may be going through personal turmoil and may need professional help.
“For him to not be able to deal with his career coming to an end, it happens to all of us, it happened to me- and you do feel a sense of ‘is that it?’ It must be difficult for him and something he may need to seek counselling for,” said Wright on The Kelly and Wrighty Show.
Ian Wright suggests Cristiano Ronaldo might need counselling to help him come to terms with his career coming to an end 🗣 pic.twitter.com/2wR8wl45qE
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) November 16, 2022
Ronaldo’s former Manchester United teammate Gary Neville also criticised him for feeling “the world is against him”. Neville also feels that the best way forward is for Ronaldo to depart Old Trafford.
“Cristiano looks like someone who thinks the world’s against him – it doesn’t have to be like that. The club need to reach out to Cristiano and his advisers and navigate a way this ends very quickly. It’s becoming more unsavoury by the day and there’s no need for it to be like that.”
Neville also took issue with Ronaldo’s attitude towards modern day young players whom he believes do not work as hard as those of generations gone by.
“I was disappointed when he criticised the young players. That’s what people used to say about us when we came through in the 1990s. It’s what late-30s, 40-year-old, 50-year-old people say about 16, 17, 18-year-olds and it’s not true.
“I actually think football players nowadays are more resilient than they were 20 years ago because of the criticism they get on social media and the scrutiny that’s on them. I think it’s unfair to criticise the young players.”