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Ronaldo ‘a better man’ after Man Utd exit as star discusses tough time

Cristiano Ronaldo has spoken out about his Manchester United exit after returning to Europe from Al Nassr for Portugal duty. The 38-year-old will lead his country into their opening Euro 2024 qualifiers this week, four months after his explosive Old Trafford departure.

Ronaldo’s Red Devils contract was terminated in November after he slammed different aspects of the club in an unsanctioned interview with Piers Morgan.

In December, he completed a blockbuster move to Saudi Arabia, signing a two-and-a-half-year contract with Al Nassr worth a reported £177million per year.

Ronaldo sat down with the media ahead of Thursday’s Group G opener against Liechtenstein and was asked about his United release.

The five-time Ballon d’Or described his final months in Manchester as a low point in his illustrious career, adding that he learned who his ‘real friends’ were during his struggles.

He said: “Manchester United? When we are at the top of the mountain, we often don’t see what’s below.

“I went through a bad phase of my career. I have no problem admitting that. But life moves on. I understood who are real friends in that difficult moment.”

Ronaldo has registered nine goals and two assists in his first 10 games for Al Nassr, and his social media suggests he’s enjoying life in Riyadh.

He added that he believed he was a ‘better man’ after leaving English football, likely for the final time. “As I said, I went through a bad phase in my career [Manchester United exit], probably for the first time,” Ronaldo explained.

“It was part of my growth. Now I am more prepared, and this learning was important. I feel as though I’m a better man.”

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