Maguire defends Ronaldo after Man Utd exit

FT Desk
  • FT Desk
  • 25 Nov 2022 07:39 GMT
  • 3 min read
FT Desk 25 Nov 2022 07:39 GMT 3 min read
Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire in action for Man Utd.

Harry Maguire has leapt to Cristiano Ronaldo's defence following the Portuguese superstar's blistering interview with Piers Morgan that preceded the termination of his Manchester United contract.

Ronaldo took aim at the Glazer family ownership, new United manager Erik ten Hag and much more during a 90-miinute, two-part interview which aired on TalkTV, before leaving the club "by mutual consent" days later.

His club future remains uncertain, with a big-money bid from Saudi Arabia having materialised whilst agent Jorge Mendes is keen to offer Ronaldo to his former club Real Madrid in light of Karim Benzema's World Cup-ending injury.

READ: Cristiano Ronaldo: Every major club's transfer stance

But in the meantime, Ronaldo has already become the first player to score at five consecutive World Cups after helping Portugal to a 3-2 win over Ghana on Thursday and Maguire - who is in Qatar with England - thinks his former teammate is still a top player.

"As a footballer nobody likes being criticised, but I think it's part and parcel of the game," United club captain Maguire said ahead of England's meeting with the USA on Friday.

Maguire: 'Ronaldo one of the greatest'

"I've played with Cristiano Ronaldo for the last couple of years and he's one of the greatest players to ever kick a football.

READ: 'Cristiano Ronaldo is finally free!': Twitter reacts to CR7 leaving Man Utd

"He gets criticised daily, so if it's going to happen to him and the position I'm in playing for Manchester United, it's going to happen to each and every one of us. You've just got to work hard, go into training, do your best and that's all you can do."

Maguire and Ronaldo emerged as two of the most criticised players in the world after UK communications regulator analysed more than two million tweets during the first half of the 2021/22 season.

Maguire received 8,954 abusive tweets over the period in question, which was second only to Ronaldo's 12,520.

Like Ronaldo, Maguire was dropped by Man Utd this season, with Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez emerging as Ten Hag's preferred central defensive partnership. He remains captain, however.