Former Manchester United coach Mike Phelan has pointed Cristiano Ronaldo’s refusal to lower his high standards as the main reason his second stint at the club ended on a sour note.
The Portuguese superstar rejoined the club two years ago from Juventus. Unfortunately, his second coming ended in a bad way between the club and the player.
Being benched by Erik ten Hag had a clear and visible impact on his ego and even when he did play, his performances just weren’t up to scratch.
Then, the infamous interview with Piers Morgan burned bridges which led to his contract being terminated. Currently, he plays his football with Saudi Pro League outfit Al Nassr.
Looking back on the issue, Phelan explained why it turned out sour.
He told Sky Sports: “The second time around, he came in a lot older and a lot more opinionated, strong-willed. He still had massively high standards and was terrific to work with. But I’d probably say a tougher mindset. He had been at United, he had been Portugal’s ever-present, he had been at Madrid.
“I liked it because he didn’t want his standards to drop, he wanted other people’s standards to come up,” Phelan continued.
I dm“And sometimes you lose a few people along the way when that happens. I remember certain times when he pushed and pushed hard, and he didn’t get much reaction or much response. And there was frustration.
“When you deal with top, top people, it’s about them and where they can finish and where they can get to. They want to look back and go ‘Wow, that was successful’. And he probably realised, and I don’t know as I never had that conversation with him, that he couldn’t do it at Manchester United. So his challenges were elsewhere.
“He’s still playing international football, yes he’s in Saudi Arabia, but he’s still playing and scoring goals. He is doing all the things we knew he could do at Manchester United.
“But a really good personality, hard-working and challenging. He challenged me as a coach, Carlos Queiroz as a coach and Sir Alex as a manager. But that’s good because it takes you to another level.”