Ex-Man Utd assistant gives insight into Cristiano Ronaldo's controversial exit

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Ex-Man Utd assistant gives insight into Cristiano Ronaldo's controversial exit
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Former Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan has lifted the lid on Cristiano Ronaldo's controversial exit from the club.

The Portuguese superstar returned to Old Trafford in September 2021, having initially played for United between 2003 and 2009.

However, it was not to be the fairy tale that so many had hoped for.

Despite a challenging season for United, Ronaldo scored 24 goals across all competitions with the Red Devils finishing in a disappointing sixth place in the 2021/22 season.

Erik ten Hag's arrival at the club from Ajax Amsterdam in the summer of 2022 then saw Ronaldo's playing time decreased due to tactical changes.

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This frustration led to Ronaldo's explosive interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV in November 2022.

In his interview, the former Real Madrid and Juventus forward took aim both at ten Hag, as well as at the club's hierarchy.

The interview resulted in a dramatic fallout, with Ronaldo's contract being terminated by mutual consent.

One of his criticisms was that the facilities at the club had not changed that much during his absence between 2009 and 2021.

And Phelan, who worked with Ronaldo across his two spells at United, has expressed his view on the player's comments which created headlines all over the world.

Speaking on the White & Jordan show on talkSPORT, Phelan, who worked under Sir Alex Ferguson and then under Ole Gunnar Solskjær, admitted that Ronaldo wasn't wrong in his assessment of the club.

I do think he had a point. There were elements to the training ground that were tired, definitely.

He's a high maintenance player - massive standards, huge standards. And he obviously gained a lot of experiences at Manchester United, left, gained even more.

Coming back, anybody would expect more. You want to move with the times. I don't think he saw that pretty early in his career at United.

But when we brought him back, he should've seen the feelings around the place and the players. Top, top players in that dressing room just wanted him around - they wanted him.

It was an unbelievable decision to bring a world class player into that dressing room. And the supporters reacted to it hugely. The lift was remarkable.

I just think [his time with the club] ran its course.

Ronaldo certainly caused a stir with his comments, and may well have gone about things in the wrong way, but the five-time Ballon d'Or winner looks to be spot on.

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There has been minimal work at the Prermier League giants since the Glazer family completed their takeover in May 2005.

Ownership under the Glazers has seen United overtaken, on and off the pitch, by rivals Liverpool and Manchester City, with both the training ground and stadium at Old Trafford requiring extensive improvement.

I'm sure he would have looked at it and thought this is a lot different to what he expected.

Did he do his homework before? Probably not. Emotionally attached? Yes. And he just expected more and probably it wasn't there.

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