'He knows what he's done...': Former Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas lends support to Ronaldo after scandalous interview
Spain legend Iker Casillas has spoken up against the critics of Cristiano Ronaldo, saying that the Portuguese forward is among the former Real Madrid goalkeeper's picks for the golden boot award at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The 37-year-old comes to the mega event on the back of a lot of criticism and without much playing time after finding himself warming the bench at Manchester United for most of the 2022-23 season.
Casillas also said that he expects Ronaldo to join a big club if he leaves Manchester United after the World Cup. "But I would always like him on my team. Cristiano still has the string to play at the highest level," said Casillas.
Earlier, in an explosive interview with British journalist Piers Morgan where he has taken apart his club, current manager and former teammates. In the interview, Ronaldo alleged some members of the higher-ups at Manchester United did not believe his reasoning for missing pre-season when his daughter was in the hospital. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner insisted Alex Ferguson convinced him to re-sign at Old Trafford but suggested 'zero progress' has been made since the legendary Scot left in 2013.
"I spoke with the director and the president of Man Utd and they kind of didn't believe that something was going wrong, which made me feel bad," the Portugal captain said.
Asked whether he felt he was being forced out of Old Trafford, Ronaldo told Piers Morgan uncensored: "Yes, not only by the coach, but by another two or three guys around the club that I felt betrayed me.
"I shouldn't say that [they were trying to get rid of me], I don't know, but yes, I feel betrayed. I felt that some people didn't want me here not only this year, but last year too."
Ten Hag has preferred to hand opportunities to the likes of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Anthony Elanga in United's attack this season, and has only started Ronaldo in four league games. Last month, Ten Hag said he opted against bringing Ronaldo on in a 6-3 defeat to rivals Manchester City "out of respect", while the Portugal forward was visibly irritated by the Dutchman's decision to substitute him against Newcastle United two weeks later.
Asked about his relationship with Ten Hag, Ronaldo added, “I don't have respect for him because he doesn't show respect for me. If you don't have respect for me, I'm never going to have respect for you.”