Manchester United’s Nemanja Matic has revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo persuaded him not to shun a final send-off at Old Trafford.
Matic confirmed in April that he will bring the curtain down on his five-year career at United when his contract expires on June 30.
The 33-year-old made only his 16th Premier League start of the season as the Red Devils ran out 3-0 winners against Brentford at Old Trafford on May 2, but he was reluctant to say an emotional goodbye to supporters.
What has Matic said about Ronaldo?
Ronaldo had to convince Matic to accept the fans’ applause when he was substituted on 71 minutes in his final home game for the club, with the Serbian admitting that he is not usually one to embrace the spotlight.
“I feel great and it’s really great to say goodbye to the club and the fans in such a wonderful way. There were 75,000 people in the stands,” Matic told K1 Televizija. “I wanted to leave a mark at that club, like Nemanja Vidic, who was the first to do so.
“But everything that is beautiful has an end. I tried to put a smile on the face of everyone in Serbia with my game, and I hope that someone from our region will continue this tradition.
“I wanted to get off the pitch as soon as possible, because I don’t like to have something revolving around me and to be the centre of attention, but Ronaldo told me ‘Wait, what are you doing? Come back’.”
What will Matic’s next move be?
Matic will become available on a free transfer this summer, and has been linked with a switch to Italian giants Juventus.
A potential reunion with former United boss Jose Mourinho at Roma has also been mooted, but the midfielder is refusing to be drawn on any speculation at this stage.
“The options are still open but what is certain is that this is my last season at United,” Matic said when quizzed on his future.
“I want to finish it in the best possible way. We have another game on May 22, and after that I will make a decision about where I will continue my career.”