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Ronaldo: Man United emerge from bad ‘career phase’


Cristiano Ronaldo He said on Wednesday that his departure from Manchester United after a second spell at Old Trafford represented a “bad phase of his career”.

The Portuguese international, who has returned to play for his country in a pair of Euro 2024 qualifiers, moved to Saudi club Al Nassr in January after becoming a pariah at United following an interview with Piers Morgan in which he He was very critical of the club and the coach. Erik tenhag.

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“There is no time for regrets in this life. Even if we don’t do so well, it is part of our life,” Ronaldo told a news conference ahead of Thursday’s game against Liechtenstein. “When we’re on top of the mountain, it’s hard to see what’s down here and many times I couldn’t. I feel like I’m better prepared now because I can see some things. I’m a better man now.

“I believe that everything in life happens for a reason. I often appreciate going through some hard things so I can see who’s really on my side. In the hard times, you see who’s on your side. It wasn’t like that.” I am in a very good stage of my life, of my career, first on a personal level and then on a professional level.”

Ronaldo is back playing international soccer for the first time since losing to Morocco in the 2022 World Cup quarterfinals. In the interim, Portugal hired Roberto Martinez to replace longtime coach Fernando. Saintswho parted ways with the team after the Qatar tournament.

“Everything was in balance after the World Cup,” Ronaldo said of the possibility of him retiring after last year’s World Cup. “I reflected with my family and then we came to the conclusion that it was not time to throw in the towel.

“I learned a lot and I am very happy to be back. The coach says that he wants me on the squad. I feel like I still have a lot to give and I want to keep it up.”

Ronaldo is set to break the all-time record for appearances for a national team after drawing Badr Al MutawaThe mark of 196 starts for Kuwait while playing in Qatar.

“The records are always positive,” Ronaldo said. “They are my motivation. I like to break records and this record is special. I will be very proud if it happens, but I want to keep playing even more games, I don’t want to stay here.”

Santos’ departure came amid controversy over benching Ronaldo in the knockout stage of the tournament in Qatar, but the former Real Madrid star said it was time to put the past behind them as they seek to qualify for the Champions League. Europe in Germany next summer.

“It’s a new chapter for everyone, for the players, the staff and the country,” Ronaldo said. “We feel good energy. It’s a breath of fresh air. I’m not saying it’s better or worse than before, but sometimes in life the changes are positive. There are new ideas, a new mentality. You can feel it. You can feel the change and that It’s good for everyone.”

Santos was in charge of Portugal for eight years, leading the national team to the Euro 2016 title, the country’s first major trophy, and to the 2019 Nations League title. He reached an agreement with the federation to leave two years before the end of his contract.

Martínez ended his six-year spell with Belgium after the team’s disappointing World Cup group stage elimination. He came promising to respect Ronaldo’s history with the national team and said that Ronaldo will be among the team’s captains.

“I am surprised by the level of commitment of the players with the selection,” said Martínez. “Everyone can play. We are starting a new cycle and we want the best. Ronaldo is one of the best and we need his experience.”

In addition to Ronaldo, Martínez will inherit a squad full of talented players like Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Diogo Jotá, Goncalo Ramos and Joao Felix. The coach made few changes to the squad, with a 40-year-old defender Pepe also returning to play alongside Ronaldo, 38 years old.

“He was introduced to us briefly in training camp,” Felix said of Martinez. “He explained to us some of his ideas, mainly for these two games, which are going to be very similar. He spoke of the attacking dynamics, of the connections between wingers and strikers”.

Felix downplayed Portugal’s chances in games against Liechtenstein and Luxembourg on Sunday, games in which the Euro 2016 champions are heavy favourites.

“We always have to be prepared and not take any game lightly,” said Felix. “We have the recent example of the World Cup, when everyone thought we were going to beat Morocco and we didn’t.

“It’s always difficult, it’s always the best of each country, and everyone plays every game as if it were a final. Every game will be difficult, both at home and away. We have to be cautious.”

Portugal is unbeaten against Liechtenstein, with six wins and one draw from seven games.

porto goalkeeper diogo costa was dropped on Wednesday due to a muscle injury and replaced by celton biaiwho plays for Vitoria Guimaraes.

Portugal’s qualifying group for Euro 2024 also includes Iceland, Slovakia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The top two nations from each of the 10 groups qualify for the final.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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