Erik ten Hag learned that Cristiano Ronaldo wanted to leave Manchester United from his TV interview that made headlines.
Ronaldo criticized the United boss on TalkTV, saying he had no respect for Ten Hag and felt betrayed by the club.
United responded by bringing Ronaldo’s second spell at Old Trafford to a hasty end and Ten Hag has now revealed his own feelings about the Portuguese star.
Speaking to reporters in Spain, where United are preparing to return to domestic action, the Dutchman said of the interview: “I’ve seen most of it. I have to do it. It’s part of my job.
“The interview, I think, you can not accept as a club. To make that step, he knew the consequences. But before he never told me. Until then, he never said to me ‘I want to leave’.”
Ten Hag insisted he would have been happy if Ronaldo had stayed and even signed a new contract.
“Last year he scored 24 goals,” said Ten Hag. “What does this team need? We need goals.
“I enjoy working with world class players. I know they can make a difference and help you achieve your goals.
“I wanted him to stay from the first moment until now. I did everything I could to get him into the team because I appreciate his quality. We wanted him to be part of our project and for him to contribute to Manchester United because he’s a great player and has such a great history.”
With United gearing up for their Premier League return later this month, Ten Hag is determined to put the matter behind him and focus on the future.
“I don’t want to waste energy on that,” he said. “It’s past. We want a new future for Manchester United and he didn’t want to be part of that.”