Gary Neville has responded to Cristiano Ronaldo after the player claimed the Sky Sports pundit was no longer his ‘friend’ during a revealing interview with Piers Morgan.
The release of Ronaldo’s sit-down tell-all has been staggered throughout the week, dominating headlines despite the opening to the World Cup coming over the horizon.
In one of the first parts of the interview, Ronaldo was asked about receiving criticism from former Manchester United teammates Wayne Rooney and Neville, insisting that they were using his name to get attention and they are not friends of his anymore.
Neville spoke to Sky Sports on Thursday to dissect Ronaldo’s outbursts, and denied that he is wading in on the discourse for his own personal gain.
“It’s not true, what he said, but all’s fair in love and war,” Neville said. “I live in the game of criticism and know I have to accept it, and I get plenty of it back. I love all my teammates I played with, including Cristiano.
“The disappointment I’ve had in the last few weeks and months is he’s dropped below a standard I know he has and has set previously in his behaviour. He’ll realise that one day, in 10, 15 years, as I have many times in my life. I suspect he’s a little bit uncomfortable at this moment in time, in terms of the fallout of what’s happened, because deep down he’s a sensitive, good human being.
“He’s just not handling the latter part of his career as easily or as well as he could do. He’s got that mentality that I can’t describe that people have of his ilk. It’s a monster mentality that basically means they cannot accept things going against them or obstacles being put in their way. They think everybody’s against them, but it isn’t like that. I’m not against Ronaldo – far from it. I couldn’t have any more admiration for him, I couldn’t have any more respect for him.
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“He’s the greatest player I’ve ever seen and he’s the most talented player I ever played with at Manchester United. I think about what Cristiano’s said about me in the past and these comments are fair and I want Cristiano, as a player and a leader, to speak more. I think he should have been out there this season, when his teammates were finding it difficult, speaking for them.
“I saw Cristiano’s comments on social media and I accept all is fair in love and war, we live in the game of the media, we have to accept criticism. Jurgen Klopp criticised me and he may think I sometimes criticise him – it’s part of the game. It’s the world we live in.
“I live on television with people at Sky every single day and we have these huge arguments and debates but we shake each other’s hands at the end of it. I would still shake Cristiano’s hand – he may not shake mine! But I don’t carry things forward.”