Cristiano Ronaldo has defended the timing of his bombshell interview with Piers Morgan and told journalists to stop asking his Portugal teammates about him.
Speaking publicly for the first time since the interview, Ronaldo said he did not regret the timing despite the fallout overshadowing Portugal’s preparations for the World Cup in Qatar.
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Sources have told ESPN that Manchester United are seeking to terminate the 37-year-old’s contract following his criticism of the club and manager Erik ten Hag.
“Timing is always timing,” Ronaldo said at a news conference at the Al Shahaniya Sports Club. “From your side it is easy to look at how we can choose timings. Sometimes you write truths, sometimes you write lies. I don’t have to worry what others think. I talk when I want to. Everybody knows who I am, what I believe in.”
Both Bernardo Silva and Ruben Neves were asked questions about Ronaldo at news conferences on Saturday and Sunday.
Ronaldo was also involved in what looked like an awkward moment with Bruno Fernandes when the pair met up at Portugal’s training camp in Lisbon last week prompting speculation the interview had caused an issue between the two United teammates.
“We were playing around last week,” Ronaldo said. “His plane was late, and I asked him, ‘Did you come by boat?’ Please, don’t ask players about me, ask about the World Cup.”
Ronaldo missed Portugal’s warm-up game with Nigeria last week but has trained as normal since arriving in Qatar. He has not played for United since the 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa on Nov. 6 but said he is ready to face Ghana on Thursday.
“I feel good,” he said. “I had a small problem, but I’m already recovered. We’ve been doing good training, and I feel prepared to start the World Cup in the best way. I’m fine.
“I believe we have enormous potential. I believe [we can win] and I have that feeling, but we have to start well with Ghana, which is the hardest.”