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Cristiano Ronaldo says ex-Man Utd team-mate Gary Neville is not his ‘friend’ and is using him to ‘be more famous’

Cristiano Ronaldo has continued his broadside attacks by accusing Gary Neville of criticising him to become more famous – and says he is “not ever having dinner” with his former Manchester United team-mate.

Ronaldo blanked Sky Sports pundit Neville live on TV in October when he was warming up for a game against West Ham.

Ronaldo had been banished from the squad a week earlier after refusing to come on as a substitute against Tottenham and leaving Old Trafford early.

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Neville said of the incident: “We know him, we love him but he can’t accept not being the star man. He’s going to have to leave, that’s it.”

The comments seemingly irked Ronaldo, who ignored Neville as he shook hands with other Sky pundits standing beside the pitch.

Asked about criticism from former team-mates in an explosive interview with Piers Morgan, Ronaldo said: “People can have their own opinion but they don’t really know what’s going on inside the training ground and in my life. They should listen to my point of view as well.

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

“It’s hard when you see people who were in the dressing room with you criticising that way.”

On whether Neville had used his name to get more attention, Ronaldo said: “I think they take advantage of that because they are not stupid.

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“I understand and I have to carry on my life with criticism or when people speak good about you, but it’s hard when you see people who were in the dressing room with you criticising you that way. It’s not good.

“I’m the No. 1 followed guy in the world. It’s not by coincidence.”

Ronaldo also took aim at another former United team-mate, Wayne Rooney.

Rooney and Ronaldo enjoyed several successful seasons together at United, firing the club to three successive Premier League titles and the Champions League in 2008.

However, Rooney, who is now manager of MLS side DC United, recently said Ronaldo has become an “unwelcome distraction” for United.

Ronaldo says he was “surprised” by Rooney’s comments.

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“It was one year ago, or six months ago,” he said. “We’re here in my house, he picked up his kids here and he invited (12-year-old son) Cristiano to go to his house to play football.

“I really don’t understand people like that. Or if they want to be on a cover of the paper in the news or they want new jobs or whatever.”

He added: “I don’t know why he criticises me so badly… probably because he finished his career and I’m still playing at a high level.

“I’m not going to say that I’m looking better than him. Which is true…”

Asked if he counts Rooney and Neville among his friends, Ronaldo responded: “They are not my friends, they are colleagues.

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“We play together, they’re not coming, we’re not ever having dinner together.”

Ronaldo has also said he was “really hurt” by Manchester United “doubting” him when he said he could not attend pre-season training due to the illness of his daughter.

Manchester United have responded to Ronaldo’s interview by saying they want to establish the “full facts” before taking action.

“Manchester United notes the media coverage regarding an interview by Cristiano Ronaldo,” the club said in a statement.

“The club will consider its response after the full facts have been established.

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“Our focus remains on preparing for the second half of the season and continuing the momentum, belief and togetherness being built among the players, manager, staff and fans.”

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