BREAKING NEWS: Cristiano Ronaldo sacked by Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo has left Manchester United with immediate effect, the club have confirmed in a 67-word statement.
Ronaldo’s exit has been agreed by mutual consent although it is unclear at this stage if the 37-year-old Portugal star has been sacked or received any compensation for the remaining seven months of his £500,000-a-week contract at Old Trafford.
United’s lawyers have been looking to tear it up since Ronaldo’s explosive interview with Piers Morgan aired in two parts last week.
A terse statement released on Tuesday evening 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.’
Ronaldo released his own statement following the news, writing: ‘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.’
Ronaldo’s position at the club became untenable after he criticised the club, the Glazers, manager Erik ten Hag and his team-mates in the interview.
United wanted to deal with Ronaldo as swiftly as possible and took just four days to show him the door. However, the club were reluctant to become embroiled in an unseemly court battle with one of their greatest ever players.
The Glazers, chief executive Richard Arnold, football director John Murtough and Ten Hag decided that Ronaldo has burnt his bridges at Old Trafford and there is no way back for him at the club.
They rejected the idea of more disciplinary action after Ronaldo was dropped and made to train on his own last month for walking out during the win over Tottenham having refusing to come on as a substitute.
Ronaldo’s team-mates also expected him to leave with the mood towards him described as ‘ambivalent’.
It was made clear that he would not have not been welcome back at Old Trafford or the club’s Carrington training base after the World Cup.
Now the matter has been dealt with, Ronaldo can look for a new club as a free agent and United to line up a replacement striker in the January transfer window.
Sportsmail revealed that Ronaldo met with representatives from Bayern Munich last week.
Sporting Lisbon would also be interested in re-signing a player who started his career at the club, but Ronaldo and his agent Jorge Mendes will have to drop their wage demands if he wants to continue playing in Europe.
Otherwise, the former Real Madrid and Juventus star will have to look to the Middle East or America, having confirmed in the interview for TalkTV that he turned down an offer from Saudi Arabia in the summer worth in excess of £300million.
With the interview dominating Ronaldo’s preparations for the World Cup, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was forced to speak out over his treatment at Old Trafford on Monday.
‘I am bulletproof — I wear an iron suit,’ said Ronaldo. ‘In my life, the best timing is always my timing. I don’t have to think about what other people think. I speak when I want.
‘The players know me really well for many years and know the type of person I am and what I believe in.
‘It’s an ambitious group that is hungry and focused. So I’m sure it (the interview) won’t shake the dressing room’s concentration and focus.
‘Stop asking my team-mates about me. If you ask other players about Cristiano Ronaldo, I would be upset. If you want to ask them about the World Cup and the team, I would like you to do that.’
The announcement comes just two days before Ronaldo kicks off Portugal’s World Cup finals campaign against Ghana.