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Cristiano Ronaldo: Classic clip of Wayne Rooney standing up for Man Utd star in 2007

Cristiano Ronaldo took aim at Wayne Rooney as part of his controversial interview with Piers Morgan, which will be released in full on Wednesday and Thursday.

The likes of Ralf Rangnick, Gary Neville and Erik ten Hag have all come under fire in some of the clips and quotes to have been published from Ronaldo‘s chat with Morgan so far, but perhaps the most surprising comments were those aimed at Rooney.

United‘s all-time top scorer had been critical of his former teammate last week, opining on talkSPORT: “I just think the things he has done from the start of the season, it is not acceptable for Manchester United. 

What did Rooney say about Ronaldo?

“I’ve seen Roy Keane defending him. Roy wouldn’t accept that. Roy wouldn’t accept that at all. It is a distraction which Manchester United don’t need at the minute, trying to rebuild.

“For Cristiano, just get your head down and work and be ready to play when the manager needs you. If he does that, he will be an asset. If he doesn’t, it will become an unwanted distraction.”

Cristiano Ronaldo: Quiz about his first season back at Man United

How did Ronaldo respond to Rooney?

And according to Sky Sports, Ronaldo responded to the criticism by telling Morgan: “I don’t understand, you should ask this question to him. I don’t know why he criticised me so bad.”

Then, upon Morgan suggesting that it might be down to jealously, the United star continued: “Probably, because he finished his career in his 30s. I’m still playing at a high level, I’m not going to say that I’m looking better than him, which is true.

“It’s hard to listen to that kind of criticism and negativity from people who played with you, for example Gary Neville as well.

Video: Ronaldo on being criticised by Rooney and Neville

NEW: Cristiano Ronaldo reveals why be blanked Gary Neville on the pitch and what he really thinks of Wayne Rooney.@cristiano | @GNev2 | @WayneRooney | @piersmorgan | @TalkTV

— Piers Morgan Uncensored (@PiersUncensored) November 14, 2022

“People can have their own opinion but they don’t really know what’s going on inside the training ground at Carrington or even my life. They should listen to not only one point of view, they have to listen to my point of view as well. It’s easy to criticise but if you don’t know the whole story, it’s easy.

“They are not my friends. It’s easy to criticise, I don’t know if they have a job in television that they must criticise to be more famous. I really don’t understand it.”

Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo (L) celebrates his goal against Porto with team mate Wayne Rooney during their Champions League quarter-final, second leg soccer match at Dragon stadium in Porto, April 15 2009. REUTERS/Miguel Vidal (PORTUGAL SPORT SOCCER)

Read more: Cristiano Ronaldo Piers Morgan Full Interview: How to Watch, Release Date and More

It’s sad to hear that what was once a thrilling relationship on the pitch between two of United’s greatest ever players has now become so fractious since the pair have gone their separate ways.

And Ronaldo’s blunt response to Rooney’s criticism has, as a result, brought about a sadness amongst a group of United fans who are remembering the ‘good old days’ and wishing that things hadn’t gone down this road.

Various clips and videos are being shared across social media of happier days when Ronaldo and Rooney were tearing it up at Old Trafford across five glorious years under Sir Alex Ferguson.

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Footage of Rooney defending Ronaldo

And one of the most eye-catching throwbacks to have been posted to Twitter shows just how much Rooney used to stand up for Ronaldo when they were both playing for United together.

In brilliant footage from what feels like a bygone era, Rooney can be seen giving James Morrison a piece of his mind for hacking down Ronaldo with a brutal tackle that saw him given a red card.

Ronaldo had already scored United’s match-winner on that 2007 night as Middlesbrough were brushed aside 1-0 in an FA Cup quarter-final when the Portuguese clearly infuriated his opponents one iota too much, leading to the cynical foul.

But even though Morrison had already been given his marching orders, Rooney was still sure to make his feelings very clear in exactly the manner that only mid-2000s ‘Wazza’ could pull off.

So, as Ronaldo and Rooney’s relationship erodes before our eyes right now, be sure to cast your minds back to a simpler time when the latter had the former’s back without a shadow of a doubt.

Video: Rooney had Ronaldo’s back after red card tackle in 2007

This is the way Rooney used to stand up for Ronaldo when they were teammates. Sacrificed himself and accommodated Ronaldo so he could succeed.@Cristiano has now backstabbed him because of some constructive criticism. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

— David. (@Rooney_esque) November 15, 2022

What a time to be alive. A time where things were a lot less complicated at United.

While it is, of course, unsurprising that Rooney would defend his teammate under pressure, it is nevertheless a video that’s more important in how it illustrates where both himself, Ronaldo and United used to be: together… united, even.

Rooney defends Ronaldo vs Middlesbrough.MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM – MARCH 19: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United is pulled away from George Boateng of Middlesbrough after Lee Catermole is sent off during the FA Cup sponsored by E.ON Quarter Final Replay match between Manchester United and Middlesbrough at Old Trafford on March 19, 2007 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Has Rooney responded to Ronaldo’s comments?

But as far as the current situation is concerned, Ronaldo shouldn’t expect to hear a retort from his former strike partner with Rooney keen to keep his reaction to the drama under lock and key.

At least, that’s the intel we have from Sky Sports’ Rob Dorsett who revealed on Tuesday: “I understand Wayne Rooney is bemused by the criticism from his former #mufc teammate.

“Rooney has always maintained Ronaldo is 1 of world’s 2 best players, but at his age and at a club the size of #mufc he has to accept situation, and not expect to play every minute of every game.”

He added in a subsequent tweet: “I have been told Rooney won’t speak on the matter publicly, and has no animosity towards his former #mufc teammate.”

Ronaldo and Messi in their Man Utd heyday.YOKOHAMA, JAPAN – DECEMBER 21: Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United receives Golden Ball and Silver Ball respectively during the award ceremony after the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2008 final match between Manchester United and Liga de Quito at the International Stadium Yokohama on December 21, 2008 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. Manchester United won by 1-0. (Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)

We can only hope that the United icons meet again one day and settle their dispute, but perhaps the crux of the issue is ultimately that Ronaldo doesn’t feel as though Rooney has his back like he did against Middlesbrough all those years ago.

“The Glazers DO NOT CARE” Ronaldo’s Full Interview With Piers Morgan (Football Terrace)

You can find all of the latest football news and rumours right here.

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