Will Ronaldo's situation with Man United affect Portugal's World Cup 2022 campaign? Joao Mario responds
Ahead of Portugal's Qatar World Cup 2022 friendly against Nigeria, Joao Mario responds to whether Cristiano Ronaldo's Manchester United situation following the explosive interview is a problem for the national team.
Following Cristiano Ronaldo's explosive interview describing feeling 'betrayed' by Manchester United, all eyes are on the Portuguese icon when he takes the stage at the Qatar World Cup 2022. The 37-year-old legend rocked the football world when he spoke to Piers Morgan about his return to Old Trafford, equation with Erik ten Hag, the evolution of the club post-Sir Alex Ferguson and more.
"Yes, I feel betrayed. And I felt that some people, they don't want me here. Not only this year, but last year too," the five-time Ballon d'Or winner said in snippets of the video released on social media.
When asked about his relationship and equation with United boss Erik ten Hag, Ronaldo remarked, "I don't have respect for him (Ten Hag) because he doesn't show respect for me. If you don't have respect for me, I'm never gonna have respect for you."
The Dutchman and United stars are understood to be "extremely disappointed" with the Portuguese icon after his latest attempt to steal the team's thunder after a 2-1 win over Fulham on Sunday. This is left Portugal fans wondering if the situation around Ronaldo will affect the national team's campaign in Qatar.
Addressing the Ronaldo issue ahead of Portugal's friendly against Nigeria, midfielder Joao Mario clarified that there is no big problem with the five-time Ballon d'Or winner's presence in the squad.
"About the national team, we had the first day yesterday, everyone is very motivated. It's a great pleasure for the 26 players to be there. We will start working in the best way to prepare for this first friendly with Nigeria," Mario told in a pre-match press conference.
"On the Ronaldo issue, little to say. It is not the first time that a player arrives at the national team with some kind of problem at the club. But one of the advantages of being in the national team is that this is all cancelled, because we all think first about what the collective objective is. So, little to say about it, because there is not big problem," the Portuguese midfielder added.
When asked about the timing of the interview, Mario stated, "For us it's the same. The headlines is always about him so for us its quite the same. I don't see a problem with the timing because everyone nowadays speak about Cristiano, so it's fine for us."
Mario also believes that Ronaldo is solely focused on Portugal national team and is pumped about powering his country to clinch the coveted trophy. "He's always happy when he's with the national team. I saw him yesterday, he is quite fine as always. As I said before, for him it's always a pleasure to be here. He is very focused on the national team and for sure he's going to be a big help for us in this World Cup."
Earlier today, a video clip of the awkward moment between Manchester United teammates Bruno Fernandes and Ronaldo went viral, with fans suggesting that the two stars had a 'frosty' encounter in Portugal's dressing room. However, Joao Mario's comments would relieve fans rooting for the team to create history when their World Cup 2022 campaign gets underway against Ghana on November 24.