Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo has issued stern words for football’s up-and-coming generation, claiming that his guidance is effectively ignored by ‘most’ of the club’s youngsters. He did, however, name both Lisandro Martinez and Diogo Dalot as having the work ethic to reach the longevity that has served him well during his own career.
United fans eagerly waited until Wednesday evening, when the full extent of Ronaldo’s broad-ranging interview with Piers Morgan was released. Footage had already emerged of the Portuguese claiming to not respect manager Erik ten Hag, alongside claims that people were trying to force him out of the club.
Before that, Ronaldo was asked about the younger generation of stars at Old Trafford, although he hardly delivered a glowing assessment. Suggesting that they lacked the fight to get to the top, the 37-year-old insisted that, more often than not, his advice and guidance falls on deaf ears.
“I don’t think they don’t respect the more experienced players, but they live in a different era,” he told Talk TV. “The mentality is not the same. I think they have things more easily. They don’t suffer or have the hunger. They don’t care. I don’t mean only a few at Man Utd but all teams in the world, the youngsters are not the same as my generation.
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The former Real Madrid ace was then asked about which players at United did have the mentality to forge a lengthy career for themselves, to which he name-dropped Martinez and Dalot, who have impressed fans with their performances this campaign.
Ronaldo didn’t specify exactly which youngsters were reluctant to take advice on board, but the Red Devils have a collection of promising stars who, they hope, can make an impact on the first team for years to come. Among them are Hannibal Mejbri, Anthony Elanga and Alejandro Garnacho, the latter of which scored a last-minute winner against Fulham at the weekend.
It has been a hugely frustrating season so far for Ronaldo, who had unequivocally been the main man at Real Madrid and Juventus for more than a decade before his return to Old Trafford. Now in the midst of a World Cup break, the 37-year-old has only started four Premier League matches in 2022/23, scoring once.
Ronaldo has now joined up with Portugal as they attempt to win the World Cup for the first time. He was greeted frostily by Man Utd midfielder Bruno Fernandes after his comments about Ten Hag surfaced, and subsequently missed Wednesday’s training session with an upset stomach. He has since been ruled out of Thursday’s friendly against Nigeria ahead of the World Cup.