Eric Bailly appeared to subtly criticize Erik ten Hag regarding the manner of Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from Manchester United.
In 2016, Manchester United acquired Bailly from Villarreal for a reported fee of £30 million. The Ivory Coast international made 113 appearances for United, scoring one goal.
During the summer transfer window, despite having one year left on his contract, United permitted Bailly to leave on a free transfer.
Bailly’s comments suggest he may harbor reservations about the circumstances surrounding his departure, particularly in comparison to how Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit was handled.
After a disastrous spell at Turkish Super Lig side Besiktas, Bailly left to join former side Villarreal.
Speaking toThe Athletic, Bailly appeared to aim a subtle dig at Ten Hag when speaking about the departure of Ronaldo.
He said: “Cristiano Ronaldo returned, the legend coming back.
“He was the best player in the world for me. Even when he returned, Cristiano contributed a lot to the club and a player like Cristiano deserves to feel important. It’s a shame he left in the circumstances he did.”
Ronaldo made his emotional return to United back in 2021 after making the decision to leave Serie A outfit Juventus.
However, Ronaldo’s second stint with the Red Devils ended in a bitter fashion after his explosive interview with Piers Morgan.
Speaking about Ten Hag, the Portuguese said: “I don’t have respect for him because he doesn’t show respect for me. If you don’t have respect for me, I’m never gonna have respect for you.”
Bailly also revealed the players he got along with during his time with United.
He said: “I got on with the boys I played with.
“I saw a lot of Victor Lindelof — he lived one minute from my house and spoke Spanish. Harry Maguire was tranquil. I’m glad he’s playing well now; he’s a strong character and he had a difficult time with the English media.”