Former Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia has admitted he was ‘hurt’ by the manner in which Cristiano Ronaldo left the club.
Ronaldo agreed to leave Old Trafford by mutual consent following his explosive interview with Piers Morgan in November where he heavily criticised the club’s owners, manager Erik ten Hag and teammates from both his spells with United.
While many have agreed that it was for the best for both parties to go their separate ways, the manner in which it has happened has left a bitter taste in the mouths of United and Ronaldo fans.
The legendary forward will forever be cherished as one of the Red Devils’ greatest ever players, yet in the short-term his reputation has taken a significant blow.
‘It was too bad Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United in the way he did,’ Valencia wrote for The Athletic.
‘A player like him should leave a club by walking off the pitch to applause at a sold-out stadium. The people there loved him.
‘The interview he gave recently was unfortunate. He’ll have his reasons for saying what he did, but I felt awful about the way he left the club.
‘It hurt. I hope everything goes well for him at his new club. I wish Ronaldo nothing but the best.’
Ronaldo’s future is still unclear, with Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr claiming they haven’t made contact with the 37-year-old amid reports they had agreed a €500 million (£432m) contract with the Portugal international.
Valencia arrived at United from Wigan in 2009, the same summer in which Ronaldo departed to Real Madrid for a then-world record transfer fee.
The Ecuadorian winger, who was later converted into a right-back, spent a decade at Old Trafford, winning two Premier League titles and a handful of other domestic and European trophies and was named club captain in his final season following Michael Carrick’s retirement.
MORE : Arsenal and Manchester City icon Gael Clichy makes Premier League title prediction
MORE : Manchester United promote teenagers Kobbie Mainoo and Rhys Bennett to first team squad
For more stories like this, check our sport page.
Follow Metro Sport for the latest news on
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.