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Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Manchester United is a controversy surrounding a conflict between professional football player Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United, a football club he played for between 2003 and 2009 and again played for since 2021. The controversy, which started with Ronaldo getting benched after demonstrating subpar results and the player expressing frustration over the situation, culminated with Ronaldo giving a 90-minute-long interview in which he accused the club's leaders of betraying him.
On August 31st, 2021, football player Cristiano Ronaldo (36 years old at the time and widely considered one of the greatest players of all time) made a transfer from Juventus to Manchester United, a club he previously played for between 2003 and 2009 (seen below). Over the course of the following months, Ronaldo endured a shaky relationship with his teammates and interim manager Ralf Rangnick, which was followed by a decline in both his personal and the team's performances. Ronaldo ultimately finished the season with 24 goals in all competitions, going trophyless for the first time since 2010.
The 2022 Premiere League season was preceded by news of Ronaldo seeking to join a club competing in the Champions League rather than stay with Manchester United and having competed in the lower-tier UEFA Europa League, which he ultimately failed to achieve.
From the start of the 2022 season, Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag benched Ronaldo, granting the starting spot to footballers Marcus Rashfort and Anthony Martial instead, with Ronaldo later expressing dissatisfaction and frustration with the decision (seen below). On October 19th, 2022, frustrated over his lack of playing time, Ronaldo refused to be brought on as a substitute and left the match before it ended, for which he was punished by Ten Hag.
On November 13th, 2022, a teaser for Piers Morgan's interview with Ronaldo (to be aired on November 16th) was released on social media. In the teaser, Ronaldo said "he felt betrayed" by Manchester United and that "they were trying to force them out." The video (shown below) received over 9.8 million views, 22,400 retweets and 116,000 likes on Twitter in one day.
"I feel betrayed."
EXCLUSIVE: Cristiano Ronaldo tells Piers Morgan he feels like he's being forced out of Manchester United in an explosive interview.
90 Minutes with Ronaldo. Wednesday and Thursday at 8pm on TalkTV.
cristiano</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/piersmorgan?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">piersmorgan | @TalkTV | #PMU pic.twitter.com/nqp4mcXHB0
— Piers Morgan Uncensored (@PiersUncensored) November 13, 2022
Later on November 13th, 2022, Manchester United announced that an official response would be made after full facts have been established.
On November 18th, 2022, Manchester United released a statement that read: Manchester United has this morning initiated appropriate steps in response to Cristiano Ronaldo's recent media interview. We will not be making further comment until this process reaches its conclusion.
On November 22nd, 2022, Manchester United released a follow-up statement that officially announced that Ronaldo was leaving the club, reading: Cristiano Ronaldo is to leave Manchester United by mutual agreement, with immediate effect.
Cristiano Ronaldo's interview on November 13th, 2022, sparked a major debate among Manchester United fans and in the football community as a whole, with multiple posts supporting or criticizing Ronaldo going viral on social media in the following hours. For example, a tweet calling out Ronaldo's critics that day received over 7,600 retweets and 46,000 likes in one day (shown below, left). A quip by Twitter user @cainsmithMU in which he described Ronaldo's interview as him being "desperate for 90 minutes" gained over 3,800 retweets and 36,000 likes in one day (shown below, right).
The controversy inspired more memes about Cristiano Ronaldo's tense relationship with the club, primarily on Facebook and Twitter. For example, on November 14th, gimmick Twitter account @nocontextfooty posted a meme that gained over 11,800 retweets and 122,000 likes in one day (shown below, left). Also that day, Facebook user Asiful Islam posted a meme that received over 470 reactions in the Football Autista Memes Facebook meme community in the same period (shown below, right).
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