In one of the most candid interviews in recent years, Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo made it clear that he wants to see improvement in a club he believes is underperforming.
Ronaldo sat for more than 20 minutes for a widely distributed video interview with Premier League rights holders around the world. He did not beat around the bush about the current state of the club, which is in seventh position and 22 points out of first place.
Manchester belongs in important things. We have to change that. I don’t want to be here at the club to fight for sixth place or seventh place or fifth place. I’m here to try to win, to compete, and I think we compete, but we are not yet at our best. But we have a long way to go to improve and I believe that if we change our mind we can achieve great things.
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“I think you have some things that we have to change,” Ronaldo said later in the interview. “We have a long way to go to improve. But I think. New year, and we have to believe that things are going to change in a better place ”.
Those words will not dispel rumors about his desire to leave the club. But Ronaldo, when pressed on what he needed to change specifically, hesitated to speak. He obviously had an opinion, but he kept it to himself.
“I’m not the right person (to say) that we have to change this or that,” said Ronaldo, who leads the team with 16 goals. “Let’s be honest, the last five, six games, do you think Manchester (United) played very well? You do not know. Everybody knows that.
“We have to be positive to try to change things, to play the way the Manchester United fans and the club’s history want. That is why we are not going to give up. The only ones (the ones) who give up are the guys who are mentally weak.
“I am a player, I am not a coach. I am not the president. I know the way, but as you know, I am not going to mention it here because I think it is not (ethical) for me to say that. What I can say and something that we have under our control is that we can do better. All of us: collectives, individuals, all of us ”.
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Ronaldo questions the mentality of Manchester United players
Ronaldo did his best to band together with the players who he said needed to improve their game in order for the club to take a step forward. But it was also clear in the interview that he doesn’t think there are any teammates who are receptive to that message.
He spoke about his experience as a young player and how the advice of his older teammates led him to succeed. You don’t see a similar response from the players on your current team.
“I remember when I was 18, 19, 20, some old players talk to me, but I put that as, ‘Cristiano you have to improve’ … but other people don’t accept that if you are criticizing (them). “He said.” Sometimes when you’re a little tougher, they do the opposite. You have to find the right balance to talk to them.
“But in my opinion, that should come from within you. You should be proud of yourself and look in the mirror and say ‘Listen, I gave it my all’. And I think we should all do that. Because (it’s) a new year, we turn the page. We have many things to gain and we have to believe in that, because if not, it will be a nightmare ”.
“If I give you some advice and even if you are younger than me and don’t (implement) that during your daily life, it will be difficult. You can talk to that person all day. If (not) it comes from within you, it is impossible ”.
Ronaldo continued to insist on the need for players to be autonomous and strive to reach a higher level. He feels that it is that individual mindset that will ultimately translate into team success.
“For me, the most important thing is the mentality. For you to be professional, you help the team, the correct mentality, your own, positive thinking. I think all the details are up to you, not the coaches, the fans, the press. It depends on you. If you are proud of yourself and have some dignity, I think you have a lot more to do. And it starts with me.
“We are here to help. If and when they (other younger players) need my help, my support and my advice, I will be number 1 to help,” continued Ronaldo. “But if you don’t want my help, then do your job, look at yourself and do the best you can to help the team.
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Ronaldo sets 2022 expectations for Manchester United
Ronaldo missed the recent FA Cup victory with “some pain” but said he was confident he would be available for Saturday’s next game at Aston Villa.
Manchester United reached the round of 32 of the FA Cup, are in the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League and are six points behind fourth place in the league table, which would guarantee them a place in the prestigious Champions League next season.
There are 19 Premier League matches left, and additional cup matches, depending on how far the Red Devils advance in both competitions. Ronaldo has detailed the objectives for the remaining four months of the season:
“Now. I hope to win a title, go to the Champions League (round of 16) and be at least, right now as we are, among the top four (in the Premier League).”
The goal, however, is to get back on par with the Premier League and Champions League elite, that is, the other three English clubs that reached the Champions League final once in the last three years and which are currently occupying the top three places in the EPL.
“Winning the league is a marathon. It is not a 100 meter race. You have to be consistent. That is why the best team in England is probably Manchester City and Liverpool and Chelsea because they are more consistent than the other teams.
“But we have to look at that (the best teams) and believe that we are capable of doing it in the same way. We know that it is difficult and that we have to improve. But I think. Some things have to change, but I think we have the potential here. So we have to do things right. It is the only way to be at that level of the teams that I mentioned before.
“As I told you and I will repeat, some things have to change.”
What Cristiano thinks of the new coach Rangnick
When it comes to change, Ronaldo says the new coach, Ralf Rangnick, has made a lot of changes.
Although Ronaldo conspicuously did not identify Rangnick by name in the interview, he says the German manager needs more time. And the Portuguese legend is hopeful that by the time the Champions League knockout series against Atlético de Madrid begins on February 23, the Red Devils will be further along their improvement curve.
“He (Rangnick) arrived here five weeks ago. It changed a lot of things. But he needs time to convey his ideas to the players and also on the field. It takes time. But I think he’s going to do a good job, “said Ronaldo.
It takes time. It’s not that easy to change the mindset of the players and the way they play, the system and the culture (just) like that. So I think he’s going to do a good job. “
What was clear and clear is that Ronaldo loves Manchester United, where he became a world icon between 2003 and 2009, its tradition and all that it stands for. And it is clear that the period you are enduring hurts. He is desperate for success for himself and for a club that he believes deserves it and more.
“I think that to build good things sometimes you have to destroy some things. Then why not? New year, new life and I hope Manchester can be at the level that people want, especially the fans. They deserve it.
“Manchester United should win the league or be in second or third. To be honest, I don’t see any other positions (in the table) for Manchester United. In my opinion, I do not accept that our mentality is less than being in the top three in the Premier League in my opinion. “
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.