Cristiano Ronaldo claims he is ‘bulletproof’ from criticism and doesn’t ‘care what other people think’ as he stunned reporters at the World Cup in his first public address since his interview with Piers Morgan.
The forward – who is hoping to lead his country to glory in Qatar in what will be his last World Cup – has come out to defend his infamous interview, which tore into Manchester United.
Across a 90-minute sitdown with Morgan he made a number of allegations, revealed he has no respect for manager Erik ten Hag and accused United of betraying him.
His interview dominated the media agenda in the lead-up to the World Cup, but he was quick to ask for the press to stop asking teammates about it as he looks to focus on the tournament.
“Timing is always timing,” he said in his unscheduled appearance on Monday morning.
‘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.
Cristiano Ronaldo has asked the media to stop asking his Portugal teammates about his infamous interview
Ronaldo’s interview with Piers Morgan has seemingly burned all his bridges at Manchester United
I talk when I want to. Everybody knows who I am, what I believe in. They have known me [here] since I was 11.
‘They will not be influenced by what people say and write about me.
‘The atmosphere is excellent, no problems, we are completely focused. You can help by not talking about me. I’m completely bulletproof and iron-clad.
‘If you ask other players about Cristiano Ronaldo I would be upset.
‘If you want to ask him about the World Cup and the team, I would like you to do that.’
Portugal’s World Cup campaign kicks off on Thursday against Ghana in Group H
Portugal’s World Cup campaign does not kick-off until Thursday, when they take on Ghana in Group H, but much of the build up has involved speculation on Ronaldo’s club future, rather than his national team’s prospects.
Footage of Ronaldo greeting Bruno Fernandes went viral
Many pointed to an apparently frosty greeting with United colleague Bruno Fernandes on his arrival at Portugal’s training camp as signs of friction within the training camp.
This particular incident was also covered by Ronaldo on his impromptu show, and he explained: ‘We were just playing around – we have great relations. His plane was late and I asked him, ‘Did you come by boat?’ I was goofing around.
‘Same with [Joao] Cancelo. He was sad during practice. I said, ‘wake up, come on, you’ve got this!’ Another controversy on your end.’
Fernandes – United’s primary captain this season – previously denied there was any rift within the national team, stating: ‘I didn’t read the interview, so I’m okay with that. As I said before, now [it] is [the] national team [it] is Portugal.
I said to him, the coach made a point that it’s ‘us’, so he made that point since I came to the national team in 2017 I think, and that is still clear in his mind.
The main thing here is the national team, and us, so we have to be focused on the World Cup because the World Cup doesn’t come every time, you don’t have a chance to play a World Cup many times.
‘Cristiano is lucky to play it five times, this will be his fifth time in the World Cup, so everyone is ready for that and everyone wants to give the best for the team.’
Ronaldo dismissed speculation of any rift in the national side, which Fernandes has echoed
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is aiming to add the World Cup to his already glittering array of honors, having won the Euros with his country in 2016 and likely featuring in his last tournament for his country.
And he revealed that he has ‘always’ played with responsibility on his shoulders, adding: ‘I always have responsibility. I felt responsibility when I left to live alone in Lisbon. I am watched more than the others, but I always have responsibility as a father, as a friend, it is part of my day to day life.
I like to have responsibility. I have always had pressure from a young age. Sometimes I deal with it well, sometimes not so well. I am not perfect but I have the ability to take on the responsibilities.’
But he admitted that many will still question his place in the football hierarchy even if his Portugal side should return home as world champions.
Ronaldo admitted he doubts winning the World Cup will end his divisive reputation in football
Even if I win the World Cup that will continue. Some people like me more, some less. It’s like in life, some like blondes, some like brunettes.
‘I have always had to show what I can do year after year, especially for myself, family and fans. Everyone has an opinion. I respect that.
‘I would live to win this tournament. I’m ambitious but if you tell me I won’t win any more tournaments I would still be happy given all I have won. I would be happy with my achievements.
‘In the history books all other records will be there. But obviously a World Cup on the shelf wouldn’t be bad. It would be a dream. I hope all the energy is on the right side and on our side.’
Ronaldo admitted that he may not be perfect but he is able to take on ‘the responsibilities’
It is the first time the 37-year-old has openly spoken about the interview – which aired in parts on Wednesday and Thursday last week.
It was reported by Sportsmail that United have begun the legal process of tearing up his £500,000-a-week contract at the club with the intention of not paying him a penny of the £16million he would earn before the end of June 2023.
This comes after his claims that the club has ‘betrayed’ him, and he admitted to having no respect for manager Erik ten Hag before criticizing the already-unpopular owners the Glazer Family.
The 37-year-old criticized Erik ten Hag and the Glazer family as well as saying he was ‘betrayed’ by the club