For the first time since his Old Trafford contract was terminated, the Portuguese icon opened up about his whole Manchester United ordeal.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been called up to the national team for Portugal's UEFA Euro 2024 qualifier against Liechtenstein, with the iconic attacker speaking to the press ahead of that fixture.

While this is the first time the five-time Ballon d'Or winner will don a Portugal jersey since his tearful exit from the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the topic of his controversial exit from Manchester United managed to pop its head into the conversation.

And for the first time since getting his contract canceled and making a surprising move to the Saudi Pro League, the 38-year-old opened up about that Old Trafford fiasco.

The former Red Devils ace returned to the Premier League giants in 2021 amid fanfare and finished the 2021/22 campaign as their top scorer. However, the arrival of Erik ten Hag last summer saw his playing time decrease tremendously, which sparked tensions.

And after a few run-ins with the Dutch disciplinarian, Ronaldo decided to stage a bombshell interview with Piers Morgan in which he publicly criticized the state of the club, the Glazers' ownership, and even the manager.

Manchester United eventually decided to terminate Ronaldo's contract as a result, with the legend eventually leaving Europe for Saudi side Al Nassr after the FIFA World Cup. However, what does the Real Madrid icon think of that entire situation and how he carried himself?

For the first time, the Portuguese ace has opened up about that chapter and admitted to going through a "bad phase". However, the player focused on the positives, saying he is a better man as a result.

"I have no problem saying I had a bad phase of my career, but there's no time for regrets," he told a press conference, as per talkSPORT.

"Life goes on and, doing well or not, it was part of my growth. When we are at the top of the mountain, we often cannot see what is below.

"Now, I'm more prepared and learning that was important, because I had never been through this, like in the last few months. Now I'm a better man."

Ronaldo has started life in Riyadh in a lovely fashion, contributing to 11 goals in eight league outings. However, the focus is on Thursday's UEFA Euro 2024 qualifier as the 38-year-old looks to make history.

With 196 caps to his name, the Portuguese icon has the joint-most international caps in history, tied with Kuwait's Bader Al-Mutawa. This means that he can claim this record outright on Thursday should Roberto Martinez name him in his lineup.


Match details, result and original broadcast info

Portugal 4 - 0 Liechtenstein

March 23, 2023 3:45pmEstádio José Alvalade (Lisboa)

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