It is becoming increasingly safe to say that Cristiano Ronaldo’s career at Manchester United is over.
The club is reportedly seeking to terminate the star striker’s contract following Ronaldo’s comments about the team and management in a pre-World Cup interview. Ronaldo, 37, made disparaging remarks about Manchester United and manager Erik ten Hag, saying that United had made “no progress” over the past decade and that he did not respect the manager.
United said in a statement Friday that it has taken “appropriate steps in response to” the interview. According to ESPN FC, United have even asked lawyers to see if Ronaldo has breached his contract.
Ronaldo’s contract expires in June if the team does not terminate it before then. He rejoined Manchester United ahead of the 2021–22 season, leading the team with 18 EPL goals in 27 starts. But over the course of last season it became clear that he did not fit into the compelling style of play that Manchester United wanted to introduce.
Ronaldo has made just four starts and six appearances in EPL games so far this season, scoring one goal from 25 starts. He was not substituted against Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the season and walked off the bench through the tunnel before the game was over. His early departure led to a suspension for the team’s next game against Chelsea.
Any attempt to make amends with Ronaldo after that suspension clearly hasn’t worked and it’s hard to see why the interview wasn’t an attempt to force a departure as soon as possible. Ronaldo has been angling to leave the club since last season ended, but no team has made an offer United felt fit enough to accept given Ronaldo’s salary. Prior to the interview, the team had reportedly even been willing to let Ronaldo leave for free in January if a team was willing to take his contract.
Ronaldo’s TV interview with Piers Morgan was recorded and released just days before what will likely be his last World Cup with Portugal. Ronaldo is ready to captain the squad as Portugal seek its first World Cup title. The country has never made it to a World Cup final and is the number 9 favorite to win the tournament at BetMGM at +1600.