Ronaldo| Photo: AP
New Delhi: Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo has opened up on his controversial exit from Manchester United, admitting that he had never been through this phase in his career but "he is a better man" following his painful experience few months ago.
The Portugal international also said that it was a bad career decision to rejoin the United in 2021.
"Sometimes you have to go through some things to see who's on my side. In a difficult phase, you can see who is on your side. I have no problem saying, I had a bad career run, but there's no time for regrets," Ronaldo said in a press conference ahead of Portugal's upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers.
"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 that learning was important, because I had never been through this, like in the last few months. Now I'm a better man," he added.
Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford for a second spell in 2021, after 12 years away from United while playing for Real Madrid and Juventus. But the arrival of Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford saw Ronaldo's game time restricted, which led him to an explosive television interview with Piers Morgan in which he criticised the club.
The Portugal veteran's contract with United was terminated by mutual agreement in November last year, following his controversial interview with Morgan. And he went on to sign a massive deal with Saudi Pro League's club Al-Nassr that will run until 2025.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo has been called up by Roberto Martinez after the new Portugal head coach announced his first squad for the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers.
"Cristiano Ronaldo is a very committed player. He can bring experience and is a very important figure for the team. I don't look at age," said Martinez.
"Football decisions have to be taken on the field of play. I'm not an office decision-making coach. So, my starting point is to get to all the players and I want to get in touch with them," he added.
Portugal takes on Liechtenstein at home on Thursday night and will play Luxembourg on Sunday. If he is given a run out by Martinez, Ronaldo will become the most-capped international player ever. IANS