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Manchester United considering legal action after explosive Cristiano Ronaldo interview

Manchester United are set to take disciplinary action against Ronaldo, whose time at Old Trafford could be at an end following the World Cup

Lawrence Ostlere
Friday 18 November 2022 17:30 GMT
Manchester United consider legal action after Cristiano Ronaldo bombshell interview

Manchester United have begun taking “appropriate steps” in response to Cristiano Ronaldo’s explosive interview with Piers Morgan this week and are considering legal action against the striker.

Ronaldo torched bridges with his club during the startingly blunt two-part interview, which aired on TalkTV on Wednesday and Thursday, with stinging criticism of everyone from the Glazer family and club hierarchy to his teammates and manager Erik ten Hag.

The 37-year-old striker, who is in Qatar with Portugal ahead of the 2022 World Cup, also appeared to make a pitch for a new club in January when he insisted he can still score goals at the top level.

Manchester United have been left aghast by the interview but have said little in public on the matter.

However, in a statement on Friday which hinted Ronaldo could face fresh disciplinary action, the club said: “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.”

The Independent understands the club are considering legal action, which could ultimately bring about the termination of Ronaldo’s contract with the club.

The Portugal forward has claimed United 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 Thursday night’s 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,” Ronaldo 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…”

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”.

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.

Cristiano Ronaldo refused to come on as a substitute (Nick Potts/PA) (PA Wire)

“I think it was a strategy from the club for me to react that way,” said Ronaldo, who is currently on World Cup duty with Portugal. “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.”

Former United team-mate Gary Neville had also been criticised by Ronaldo during his interview. Neville, who is now a media pundit, said on Thursday that United should cancel Ronaldo’s contract in the next few days.

Reflecting on his future, Ronaldo told TalkTV: “It is hard for me to say that I will not be back to Manchester United, but regardless, as you say, let’s see what’s going to happen. But as I told you before, the fans for me always will be on my side, will be always in my heart.

“I see during the days when I go to the streets, the love, the passion, that people have for me, the respect. I hope that they never forget the things that I will continue to do, not only in the past, but in the present too.

“Manchester will be always on my side, the fans will be always on my side; doesn’t matter what’s going to happen, and I appreciate the love that they send for me all the time. Even when I’m done play(ing), even when they criticise me, they always will be in my heart, so thank you to all the support.

“I hope to see you soon, and they always will be in my heart.”

Additional reporting by PA

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