Cristiano Ronaldo is to leave Manchester United by mutual agreement with immediate effect 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 player to terminate his contract.
Ronaldo’s interview on TalkTV – aired in two parts on Wednesday and Thursday last week – saw the 37-year-old criticise the club and manager Erik ten Hag, who the player says he has “no respect” for.
The Portugal forward 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.
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.”
Ronaldo rejoined United for a second spell last year but he had fallen out of favour this season under new manager Erik ten Hag.
The 37-year-old issued his own statement which read: “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 learned last week United do 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 left Old Trafford. Sources have insisted United have invested in their facilities – notably the training ground, restaurant and swimming pool.
The Portugal forward was also critical of Ten Hag but sources insist Ronaldo was treated with respect by the club and the manager. In news conferences, Ten Hag always maintained Ronaldo had been given time off in pre-season to deal with family matters.
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.
“It’s the sensible thing. I think it is what Manchester United fans, I wouldn’t say welcome, because it is an unusual word to describe a pretty sad situation.
“I think after that interview last week this is the right decision. The club didn’t want to hang around they wanted to come to an agreement with Cristiano Ronaldo’s people.
“He didn’t want to be at Manchester United. He wanted to leave the club, that’s been true for four or five months now and he’ll get his wish and both parties will move on.
“History will still remember Cristiano Ronaldo well as a Manchester United player, probably the best player I have ever seen play for Manchester United in his first spell at Old Trafford – and he was a success last season.
“This season has not been a success and it’s been frustrating watching him and seeing his decline in real time. But he feels that he can still contribute a lot as a footballer, that’s just not going to be at Manchester United.
“I think most Manchester United fans will wish him well so long as he’s not at Liverpool or Manchester City.”