Raphaël Varane admitted that Cristiano Ronaldo’s interview criticizing the Manchester United owners and manager Erik ten Hag created shock waves for the team.
Speaking to Piers Morgan on TalkTV, Ronaldo revealed that he did not respect Ten Hag and claimed that some people at United tried to push him. The 37-year-old striker also claimed that the Glazer family, who have owned the club since 2005, did not care about the club.
United is seeking legal advice – and awaiting publication of the full interview – before making a response – and although a statement said “their focus … continues to build momentum, faith and togetherness,” the implications of the interview are clear. It was felt by the rest of the United players.
Preparing for the World Cup with France, Varane told Europe 1 radio station: “Of course this affects us. We follow what is happening and what is said.
“We are trying to calm the situation in our own way, trying not to get too involved. When there is a star like Cristiano Ronaldo, we try to be even more distant, so we are not trying to change the situation alone, we are part of a collective.
“What I want is what’s best for my team so whatever the decision is [by the club]As a player we will accept this and do our best.
While his words are still digested by the United players, Ronaldo missed training with Portugal on Wednesday due to an upset stomach. It covers a final week for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, which includes awkward exchanges with international teammates Bruno Fernandes and João Cancelo. Portugal will launch their World Cup campaign against Ghana next week.
Meanwhile, the French team announced that they promised to financially support non-governmental organizations and charities working for the protection of human rights.
The World Cup was tainted by the appalling lack of protection for migrant workers who endured exploitative, even deadly conditions as Qatar prepared for the tournament, while the country’s stance on LGBT+ rights also cast a long shadow over the event.
“We are players, we have this way of expressing ourselves, but it’s human to express it in this letter,” said Varane, France’s vice-captain. “A lot of light at the same time [shone] on us, and we want to express what we feel humanly.”