Cristiano Ronaldo leaves Manchester United with immediate effect

Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo is to leave Manchester United with immediate effect.

The decision follows a controversial interview in which the 37-year-old criticized the club and said he had “no respect” for manager Erik ten Hag.

Both sides said Ronaldo’s exit was “by mutual agreement”.

“The club thanks him for his immense contribution over two spells at Old Trafford,” a statement from Manchester United said.

They wished him ‘and his family all the best for the future’ and added that ‘everyone at Manchester United remains focused on continuing the team’s progress under Erik ten Hag and working together to succeed in the field”.

United are fifth in the Premier League in Ten Hag’s first season as manager, with the season taking a break for the World Cup in Qatar.

Ronaldo is with Portugal at the tournament and is expected to lead them in their Group H opener against Ghana on Thursday.

He spoke to the media in Qatar on Monday, saying he will ‘talk whenever he wants’ and that his feud with United will not ‘shake’ the Portuguese side.

Ronaldo, who has scored 145 goals in 346 appearances for United, left Juventus to join the club from Old Trafford in August 2021 – 11 years after leaving to join Real Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo’s last appearance for Manchester United was in their 3-1 defeat at Aston Villa on November 6.

He had just over seven months left on his £500,000-a-week contract with United and his departure leaves him free to sign for another club, including one in the Premier League, when the transfer window opens in January.

“Following conversations with Manchester United, we have mutually agreed to end our contract early,” Ronaldo said in a statement.

“I love Manchester United and I love the fans, that will never change. However, now is a good time for me to look for a new challenge.

“I wish the team every success for the rest of the season and for the future.”

Both parties are happy and we can move on – Ferdinand

Ronaldo, who has scored three goals in 16 appearances for United this season, has not played due to an unspecified illness since captaining the side in their 3-1 loss at Aston Villa on November 6.

He was dropped for the Premier League game at Chelsea last month by Ten Hag after refusing to come on as a substitute against Tottenham three days earlier.

In his TalkTV interview last week, Ronaldo said he had no regrets refusing to come on as a substitute in the final minutes of a win over Spurs as he felt Ten Hag had ‘provoked’ him.

He also explained how, in general, he felt “betrayed by the club” and, alongside his view of Ten Hag, added that he believed he was being kicked out of the club.

He also said he had seen “no development” at the club since former manager Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

Ronaldo mentioned he was close to joining Manchester City before his return to United, when he had turned down a £305m deal move to a Saudi club this summer.

He spoke of the loss of his baby in April and how touched he was by a tribute paid to him by Liverpool fans during a game against United at Anfield in the days that followed.

United responded last Friday with a statement that they had “initiated appropriate action” in response to the interview.

“Cristiano obviously did this interview with the mindset that he was unhappy and wanted to leave the club. He said that very clearly,” said the former Manchester United defender, Rio Ferdinand, at BBC Sport.

“I think Erik ten Hag also got what he wanted in this situation. Both parties are happy and we can move on.

“The next chapter for Cristiano? It depends on his motivation. To play in the Champions League? Money? To continue playing somewhere with a pleasant climate?

“We’ll find out in due time, I’m sure.”

How to follow Manchester United on the BBC bannerManchester United banner footer

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: