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Cristiano Ronaldo: How Man Utd striker’s controversial exit unfolded

The Portugal forward’s contract has been terminated

Pa Sport Staff
Tuesday 22 November 2022 19:35 GMT
Cristiano Ronaldo leaves Manchester United with immediate effect

Cristiano Ronaldo has left Manchester United by mutual consent, it has been confirmed.

United issued a statement announcing they had reached a mutual agreement with the player to terminate his contract following the 37-year-old’s explosive interview with Piers Morgan in which he criticised Erik ten Hag and executives at the club.

Here we look back at the events of a tumultuous nine days.

Sunday 13 November

Talk TV began drip-feeding excerpts of Morgan’s 90-minute interview with Ronaldo, which was to be shown the following Wednesday and Thursday. In the first clip the 37-year-old said he felt “betrayed” by Manchester United and believed they were trying to force him out of the club.

Then, in The Sun, Morgan revealed that when he asked Ronaldo about current United boss Erik ten Hag, the Portugal forward said: “I don’t have respect for him because he doesn’t show respect for me.” Ronaldo was also “witheringly scornful” about former United team-mate Wayne Rooney.

Monday 14 November

Further clips of the interview were released in which Ronaldo explained why he did not go on United’s pre-season tour to Australia in July.

He revealed partner Georgina Rodriguez and baby daughter Bella Esmeralda were hospitalised with a “big problem”, only a matter of months after the death of their new-born son, but claimed he was not fully believed by the United hierarchy.

Later in the day, in another clip, Ronaldo alleged United owners Joel and Avram Glazer “don’t care” about the club.

Tuesday 15 November

The latest excerpt saw Ronaldo open up on the death of his newborn son in April, which he described as “the most difficult moment” of his life.

He said: “As you know, football carries on, so fast, many competitions, football doesn’t stop. We had many, many competitions. And that moment was probably the most difficult moment that I have had in my life. Me and my family, especially Gio, that was tough.”

Ronaldo arrived at the World Cup in Qatar and appeared to share a frosty exchange with United and Portugal team-mate Bruno Fernandes.

Wednesday 16 November

As millions scoured their programme planners to find out which channel Talk TV was actually on, the first part of the ‘bombshell’ interview finally aired. Among the new revelations were how close Ronaldo had come to joining Manchester City before he returned to Old Trafford, and that Sir Alex Ferguson had persuaded him not to join their rivals.

He also hit out at the club’s owners and the appointment of Ralf Rangnick as interim boss after the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, saying “you should bring a top manager, not a sports director”.

Thursday 17 November

Part two aired with Ronaldo claiming he felt Manchester United had “cut his legs” and did not want him to “shine” or listen to advice as his relationship with the club deteriorated.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner also addressed his future, saying: “It is hard for me to say that I will not be back to Manchester United, but regardless, let’s see what’s going to happen.”

Former Red Devils team-mate Gary Neville called for United to cancel Ronaldo’s contract in the next few days.

Friday 18 November

United broke their silence, releasing a statement saying they had begun taking steps in the wake of the interview.

It read: “Manchester United has this morning initiated appropriate steps in response to Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent media interview. We will not be making further comment until this process reaches its conclusion.”

Monday 21 November

Ronaldo made a surprise appearance at a Portugal press conference in Qatar and described himself as “bullet-proof and iron-clad”. He added: “The atmosphere is excellent, no problems, we are completely focused.”

Tuesday 22 November

Manchester United announced the superstar is to leave the club, by mutual agreement, with immediate effect.

A statement read: “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.”

Ronaldo issued his own statement which read: “Following conversations with Manchester United we have mutually agreed to end our contract early.

“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.”

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