Thursday, March 23, 2023

Exited Manchester United in bad 'phase of career': Cristiano Ronaldo

"I'm better prepared now because I can see some things... I'm a better man now" says football sensation

Al Nassr captain Cristiano Ronaldo. — Twitter/@FabrizioRomano
Al Nassr captain Cristiano Ronaldo. — Twitter/@FabrizioRomano

Al Nassr captain Cristiano Ronaldo on Wednesday said that the end to his six-year stint at Manchester United and his second stint at Old Trafford were part of a “bad phase” of his career.

The international football sensation — who is set to return to Portugal for two Euro 2024 qualifiers as captain — joined the Saudi club in January following his scathing criticism of United and its manager Erik ten Hag in an interview.

Following the interview, he was phased out of the United side at the start of the 2022-23 season, making 10 appearances and four starts, and will play for Al-Nassr till 2025.

However, the Portugal player speaking at a news conference reflected on his decisions saying: "There is no time for regrets in this life. Even if we don't do so well, it's part of our life."

He further said that he was “better prepared” now since he could “see somethings” that he had not been able to from “the top of the mountain.”

“When we are at the top of the mountain, it's hard to see what's down here and many times I couldn't. I feel like I'm better prepared now because I can see some things. I'm a better man now.”

The Al Nassr forward added: "I think that everything in life happens for a reason. I'm often grateful to go through some difficult things so I can see who is really on my side. At the tough times, you see who is on your side.”

Saying that the time he left United was a tough one, Ronaldo said “it was not a very good phase in my life, in my career, first on a personal level and then professionally.”

After Portugal lost to Morocco in the 2022 World Cup quarterfinals, they brought on board a new coach, Roberto Martinez, replacing Fernando Santos.

Speaking about the possibility of his retirement after last year's World Cup, Ronaldo said: "It was all in the balance after the World Cup. I reflected with my family and then we came to the conclusion that it was not time to throw in the towel.

"I learned a lot from it and I'm very happy to be back. The coach says he wants me in the squad. I feel that I still have a lot to give and I want to keep it going."

Ronaldo said he planned to continue playing for his national team as long as possible and is set to make more history this week.

With his appearance in the match against Liechtenstein in Euro 2024 qualifier on Thursday, Ronaldo is set to become the most-capped player — a record he currently shares with Kuwait forward Bader Al-Mutawa for 196 international caps.

"Records are always positive," Ronaldo said. "They are my motivation. I like to break records and this record is special. I'll be really proud if it happens, but I want to keep playing even more games, I don't want to stop here."