Gary Neville has revealed he didn’t speak to Cristiano Ronaldo after his unceremonious exit from Manchester United but backed the ‘monster mentality’ at the World Cup.
Ronaldo has mutually agreed to terminate his contract at Old Trafford after just over a year at the club when a bombshell interview made headlines.
The striker bullied United owners, managers and coach in a 90-minute chat with Piers Morgan that saw his much-heralded return to the club end sadly.
Before leaving the club, Ronaldo had taken the rather odd approach of hailing television pundits on the pitch before games and then masking Neville live on Sky Sports.
And when asked by talkSPORT host Laura Woods if he’d heard from his former teammate, Neville had a funny response.
“No, my phone didn’t ring, from anyone really, let alone Cristiano,” joked the former United captain.
“He’s amazing, he obviously responded to the criticism and didn’t like what happened at Manchester United and feels like people turned on him.
“He’s at home now, Portugal absolutely adore him, his teammates adore him, his relationship with his coach is strong.
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“I think we need [Kylian] Mbappe, Ronaldo, [Lionel] Messi, all these great players come out on top in this tournament because something is going to have to give way at some point.
Ronaldo claimed honors with Portugal in 2016 when they lifted the European Championship trophy, and he will be desperate to repeat what looks like his last World Cup.
The 37-year-old has already found the back of the net this tournament, and Neville believes that despite their disagreements, Portugal could surprise if their tactics are right.
“I watched the Portugal game the other day and thought the balance of the team in the first half was poor,” he explained.
“He [Fernando Santos] had Bruno Fernandes on the right with Cristiano in front, it doesn’t work for Manchester United, when [Rafael] Leao came in and Joao Felix and Cristiano played with [William] Carvalho in midfield and Bruno moved inside with Bernardo Silva, they looked pretty good.
“It’s a way forward for them, it’s a good team for Portugal and they have a man up front who has a monster mentality, who will believe this is his moment, he will think he lifts this World Cup and he will make it believe and pass it on to the rest of his teammates.
“He did it with the Champions League with Real Madrid, Barcelona were so great but they won the Champions League with him there because he delivers in those big moments.
“Nothing would surprise me in this tournament but I think it was fair that he left United and United let him go.”
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