Manchester United on Friday announced it has “initiated appropriate steps” after star forward Cristiano Ronaldo made numerous negative statements about the English club team in a recent television interview.Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United appear to be divorcing.
Ronaldo, 37, joined Manchester United for a second time in 2021 after becoming a global star with the club earlier this century, when he helped the team to three Premier League titles, one FA Cup championship and a Champions League win. The two sides have had an uneasy coexistence, particularly since Manchester hired Erik ten Hag as manager in April. Last month, ten Hag told reporters that Ronaldo refused to enter a match against Tottenham Hotspur as a substitute before he walked off the pitch ahead of the final whistle (he also left early during a friendly in July).
Then, in an interview that aired with Piers Morgan on Wednesday and Thursday, the Portuguese star said he felt “betrayed” by the club, that team officials are trying to force him out, that they lacked empathy after his newborn son died in April and that the team’s American owners — the Glazer family — do not care about the club. He also had harsh words for ten Hag.
“I don’t have respect for him because he doesn’t show respect for me,” Ronaldo said.
Complicating matters for Manchester United is Ronaldo’s contract, which ends in July and pays him $590,000 per week. Ronaldo’s representatives reportedly tried to shop him to other top-level European clubs during the Premier League offseason but failed to find a team that would pay his sizable salary. Manchester United could conceivably claim that Ronaldo’s comments to Morgan constitute a breach of contract, canceling the deal.
Ronaldo is soon to arrive in Qatar for his fifth World Cup with the Portuguese national team. The next European transfer window is in January, and he seems to accept that he will be on the move.
“Maybe it’s good for Manchester and probably is good for me as well to have a new chapter,” Ronaldo told Morgan. “Probably. But I don’t know.”