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Cristiano Ronaldo leaves Manchester United with immediate effect

Ronaldo rendered his position at Old Trafford virtually untenable after heavily criticising the club, from the owners to his manager Erik ten Hag and even his teammates

Lawrence Ostlere
Tuesday 22 November 2022 19:01 GMT
Cristiano Ronaldo leaves Manchester United with immediate effect
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Cristiano Ronaldo has left Manchester United with immediate effect in the wake of his explosive interview with Piers Morgan ahead of the World Cup.

Ronaldo lashed out at United’s owners, executives, manager and even some of his own teammates in an extraordinary tirade which aired in the week leading up to the tournament, effectively torching his bridges with the club, and the hierarchy concluded Erik ten Hag’s team would be better off without the striker going forwards.

In a statement on Tuesday, Ronaldo said that he “loved” the club and their fans, but that it was time for a “new challenge”.

“Following conversations with Manchester United we have mutually agreed to end our contract early,” Ronaldo said. “I love Manchester United and I love the fans, that will never ever change. However, it feels like the right time for me to seek a new challenge. I wish the team every success for the remainder of the season and for the future.”

It is understood Ronaldo will not receive a pay-off from the club.

Manchester United said: “Cristiano Ronaldo is to leave Manchester United by mutual agreement, with immediate effect. The club thanks him for his immense contribution across two spells at Old Trafford, scoring 145 goals in 346 appearances, and wishes him and his family well for the future. Everyone at Manchester United remains focused on continuing the team’s progress under Erik ten Hag and working together to deliver success on the pitch.”

The 37-year-old striker, who is in Qatar captaining Portugal, spent a significant portion of the interview making a pitch for a new club in January, insisting he can still score goals at the top level, and he is now free to seek out a fresh contract.

Ronaldo confirmed during the interview with Morgan that he had received an enormous offer to play in Saudi Arabia last summer, and he has been repeatedly linked to Major League Soccer in the US, but the Portuguese made it clear he believes he still has more to give at the top of the European game.

The focus of Ronaldo’s complaint against United was that he felt certain senior figures were trying to force him out of the club over the summer. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner said he did not respect Ten Hag, who took over at Old Trafford in the summer, and claimed a number of individuals at United were trying to push him to leave.

In the second instalment of the full interview on Piers Morgan Uncensored, Ronaldo gave further details of how he felt he had been “betrayed” as his return to United went sour.

“When I arrived at Manchester United, I always be available to help the team to do the good things, to put in the right spots, to compete with the best teams,” he said. “But it’s hard when they cut your legs and they don’t like you to shine and they don’t listen to your advice.

“I think I have words to advise to the club. I think I can help a lot, but when the infrastructure is not good…”

Cristiano Ronaldo speaks on Piers Uncensored (@PiersUncensored)

Amid speculation over whether he would be departing United over the summer, Ronaldo and other players left a pre-season friendly against Rayo Vallecano before full-time – something Ten Hag had labelled “unacceptable”.

Then, in October, Ronaldo was a substitute for the 2-0 win over Tottenham and later walked off the bench before leaving the stadium, with Ten Hag saying the 37-year-old had refused to come on during the closing stages. Ronaldo did not feature for the next Premier League match against Chelsea.

“I think it was a strategy from the club for me to react that way,” he said. “I was very, very, very, very disappointed for the communication of Manchester United. To be honest, I never had a problem with any club, with any coach. And they suspend me three days, which I felt was a lot – and the level of sport, clubs, I felt a lot. It was a shame.”

Ronaldo, though, did regret leaving the stadium early.

“It’s difficult to tell you 100 per cent, but let’s say I regret (it), but in the same way I felt provoked by the coach,” he said. “Not allowed for me, a coach to put me in three minutes in a game. Sorry, I’m not that kind of player. I know what I can give to teams.”

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