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Cristiano Ronaldo Exits Manchester United With Immediate Effect

Manchester United have reached an agreement with Cristiano Ronaldo to mutually terminate his contract.

The Athletic reported last week that United had started a legal process against Ronaldo for breach of contract after his interview with Piers Morgan.

That work has developed rapidly and the 37-year-old’s exit has been finalised.

A statement from United 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.”

Ronaldo conducted a highly-critical interview prior to the World Cup — where the attacker is set to play for Portugal — in which he accused his employers of betrayal and took swipes at head coach Erik ten Hag, as well as the club’s hierarchy.

The Old Trafford side released a statement on Thursday, which 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.”

All top-flight players sign a Premier League employment contract with their teams.

Under that agreement, they are obliged to “comply with and act in accordance with all lawful instructions of any authorised official of the club” and are not allowed to “write or say anything which is likely to bring the club… into disrepute… or cause damage to the club”.

Ronaldo said he “felt betrayed” by the club in an interview with Morgan, published in The Sun newspaper.

The forward added that he feels he is being forced out of United, “Not only by the coach (Erik ten Hag), but also by two or three other people around the club”.

He said: “I feel betrayed.

“Some people, I feel, don’t want me here. Not just this year, but last year too.”

Ronaldo also touched on his relationship with Ten Hag, adding: “I don’t have respect for him because he doesn’t show respect for me.

“If you don’t have respect for me, I’m never gonna have respect for you.”

He also spoke on Ralf Rangnick’s time at the club, who was appointed interim manager after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s departure last season.

The German has had significant success as a director of football but had not managed a team for over two years before taking over at United in November last year, with Ronaldo commenting: “If you’re not even a coach, how are you going to be the boss of Manchester United? I’d never even heard of him.”

Ronaldo told United he wanted to leave last summer, if they received a suitable offer, but no satisfactory proposals arrived.

He previously drew criticism from his manager in August when he left early during a friendly against Rayo Vallecano.

Ronaldo was substituted at half-time during the warm-up game and was then filmed outside the ground before the end.

Last month, he refused to come on as a substitute during the closing stages of United’s win over Tottenham Hotspur.

He was then omitted from their squad to face Chelsea the following weekend and trained alone before returning to the line-up for a 3-0 Europa League defeat of Sheriff.

The Portugal international also missed his side’s final Premier League match before the World Cup break, a 2-1 victory over Fulham on Sunday, due to illness.

Ronaldo has struggled for form in front of goal this season. The Portugal international has scored one goal in 10 Premier League appearances this season.

He has, however, played a more prominent role in the Europa League campaign. Ronaldo has started all six of United’s matches in the competition, scoring two goals and claiming two assists.

In the Premier League, Ronaldo has largely been cast as a peripheral figure with just four starts.

United went into the World Cup break in fifth place in the Premier League table.

First published in The Athletic

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