Cristiano Ronaldo has left Manchester United by mutual consent following his explosive interview with Piers Morgan.
United issued a 67-word statement on Tuesday evening announcing they had reached a mutual agreement with the 37-year-old forward to terminate his contract.
In the interview on TalkTV – aired in two parts on Wednesday and Thursday last week – Ronaldo said he felt “betrayed” by the club and has “no respect” for manager Erik ten Hag.
The Portugal captain, who is currently representing his country at the World Cup, also claimed members of the United hierarchy were trying to force him out of Old Trafford and doubted him when he said he could not attend pre-season because his daughter was ill in hospital.
United said they would consider their response to Ronaldo’s comments “after the full facts have been established” and have now decided to part ways with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
It is understood a settlement fee was not part of the termination. “I’m told there wasn’t a payout so United are saving about £16m,” said Sky Sports News senior reporter Melissa Reddy.
According to Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol, there is a sense of relief at the club that the issue has been finally sorted and a feeling the team will be in a stronger position in the second half of the season.
A club statement read: “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.”
Issuing his own statement, Ronaldo said: “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.”
United wanted Ronaldo’s exit done “cleanly and quickly” and in as dignified a way as possible – not only to minimise distraction at Old Trafford but also to show respect to Portugal during the World Cup.
Sky Sports News also learned last week United did not accept some of the criticisms Ronaldo made in the interview.
Ronaldo criticised the club for a lack of investment in the 13 years since he first left Old Trafford. Sources have insisted United have invested in their facilities – notably the training ground, restaurant and swimming pool.
The Portuguese superstar was also critical of Ten Hag but sources insisted Ronaldo was treated with respect by the club and the manager.
It has been confirmed to Sky Sports News there was an offer from Saudi Arabia in the summer, which United would have accepted, but Ronaldo did not want to make the move. There were no other official offers for the player in the last transfer window.
Source: Sky Sports