Former Manchester United assistant manager, Mike Phelan has revealed why Cristiano Ronaldo left the Premier League club “frustrated”.
Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford from Juventus in 2021 and scored 24 goals in all competitions in his first season.
However, things quickly went sour and Phelan has since opened up what it was like working with Ronaldo during that period.
Speaking with Sky Sports, he claimed that the striker’s standards remained extremely high, something that he liked, but Ronaldo’s teammates didn’t exactly warm to.
“The second time round, he came in a lot older and a lot more opinionated, strong-willed,” Phelan said. “He still had massively high standards and was terrific to work with. But I’d probably say a tougher mindset. He had been at Man Utd, 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. 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.
“But a really good personality, hard-working and challenging. He challenged me as a coach, Carlos Queiroz as a coach and Sir Alex [Ferguson] as a manager. But that’s good because it takes you to another level.