Eric Cantona claims Cristiano Ronaldo’s refusal to accept his age led to his bitter departure from Man United

Eric Cantona tells Cristiano Ronaldo his failure to ‘accept that he’s NOT 25 anymore’ – while not helping the Man United youngsters in doing so – led to his bitter exit as he compares retiring to ‘dying’.

  • Cristiano Ronaldo left Man United after his contract ended
  • This followed him giving Piers Morgan a bombshell interview in November
  • Eric Cantona believes Ronaldo didn’t want to accept that he was getting older
  • He thinks Ronaldo should have helped the younger players in the United squad
  • Cantona has hinted he has sympathy for the Portuguese star
  • Man United legend has claimed ‘ending a career is like dying’

Manchester United legend Eric Cantona believes Cristiano Ronaldo’s refusal to accept that he is nearing the end of his career led to his bitter exit from Old Trafford.

Ronaldo returned to the ‘theater of dreams’ in 2021, scoring 24 goals in all competitions in his first season with the club.

However, he fell out of favor under Erik ten Hag at the start of the current season and subsequently gave Piers Morgan a wide-ranging interview criticizing the manager and the club.

Cristiano Ronaldo left Man United in November after criticizing manager Erik ten Hag

Cristiano Ronaldo left Man United in November after criticizing manager Erik ten Hag

Eric Cantona believes Ronaldo's refusal to accept that he is aging led to his departure from United

Eric Cantona believes Ronaldo’s refusal to accept that he is aging led to his departure from United

This interview marked the end of his time at United as his contract was torn up and he is now joining Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr.

Ronaldo turns 38 next month and Cantona believes Ronaldo’s downfall at United is because he hasn’t accepted that he’s getting older and that his role in the team has changed.

“I think there are two types of players at the end of their careers. I’ve decided to retire young, that’s a different matter. And then the one who wants to play and play until they’re 40,” Cantona said Manchester evening news.

“You have two types of players: those who want to play every game because they still think they’re 25, and those who realize they’re not 25 and are here for the young To help players, they know they’re not going to play every game, they know they’re going to play some games.

Cantona believes Ronaldo should have been willing to help the younger players in the team

Cantona believes Ronaldo should have been willing to help the younger players in the team

Ronaldo has now joined Al-Nassr after accepting a lucrative offer from the Saudi club

Ronaldo has now joined Al-Nassr after accepting a lucrative offer from the Saudi club

“But her part is to help the young players. Like (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic still does with Milan, Ryan Giggs or (Paolo) Maldini when he was in Milan.

“But I don’t think Ronaldo realized – and he still doesn’t realize it – that he wasn’t 25 years old. He’s just older and he should have realized that instead of not being happy playing some games, he should be like, ‘Okay, I’m not 25 years old, I can’t play every game, but I’m going to help the young players help and accept this situation and finish my situation”‘.

Cantona left football in sensational fashion when he was just 30, seemingly still at the peak of his powers after helping United to four league titles in five seasons.

Since then he has made a career of himself in the film industry as an actor, director and producer as he has proven he can progress from football.

But he is fully aware of how hard coping with retirement can be and has indicated he feels some sympathy for Ronaldo, comparing the end of a career to dying.

Cantona left football at 30 but admits it's difficult to accept retirement

Cantona left football at 30 but admits it’s difficult to accept retirement

“It’s like everywhere in the world, there are people who accept that they are older. you have to accept it In everything we do. Not just in football. In everything,” he continued.

“I can’t run as fast as I did when I was 30, I have to accept that. I have to accept that one day I will die. It’s hard to accept, but we have to do it. And ending a career is like dying. It’s a small death.

“You have to start something else. And before you die you get old and you have to accept that you are getting old. You can’t do the things you do.

“You can sing until you’re 80, you can act until you’re 80, but footballers or athletes know that after 30 years, 33 years, it gets physically more difficult every day.

“You have to accept that, or you retire, or you say I’m helping the younger generation.”

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Maureen Mackey

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