Cristiano Ronaldo’s criticism of young players is understandable, according to his Manchester United team-mate Anthony Elanga, who has defended the forward following his comments.
Ronaldo has endured a torrid season after reportedly asking to leave United in the last transfer window, and his future is in doubt once again following an explosive interview with Piers Morgan.
As well as claiming senior figures at Old Trafford have “betrayed” him and admitting he has no respect for head coach Erik ten Hag, Ronaldo said the club’s young players “don’t care”.
Asked about Ronaldo’s comments by Swedish publication Aftonbladet, Elanga said: “Cristiano talks about young players in general.
“We are a new generation. I am always 100 per cent focused on what I am doing, but I can understand what he is saying.
“There are a lot of phones and a lot of technology. It’s quite easy for young players to get distracted and lose focus. Young players at United are listening, but I can understand what he is saying.”
Elanga also maintains that Ronaldo has been a positive influence on his development since the five-time Ballon d’Or winner returned to United last August.
“He has helped me a lot not only on the pitch, but off it as well,” Elanga said. “He is an inspiration, not only to me but to all the young players at United. Sometimes it’s just me and him at the gym.
“When I’m with him, he hasn’t changed. He is still Cristiano Ronaldo to me. He has helped me a lot.”