Cristiano Ronaldo will not receive a penny in compensation from Manchester United after his dramatic departure from the club. Less than 48 hours before Portugal’s opening World Cup match against Ghana, United issued a statement confirming Ronaldo had left the club by mutual agreement with immediate effect.
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The announcement comes in the wake of the Portugal striker’s bombshell interview last week in which he infuriated United by launching blistering attacks on manager Erik ten Hag, the Glazers and the way the club is run. United were determined to ditch Ronaldo without a pay-off in the belief he had breached his contract and Telegraph Sport understands that the player will walk away from Old Trafford with nothing.
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Ronaldo had stood to earn up to another £17 million from a contract that ran until the end of the season. But United were confident they had strong legal grounds to sue for breach of contract given the unauthorised and damaging nature of Ronaldo’s explosive interview with Piers Morgan for TalkTV together with his refusal to come on as a substitute against Tottenham last month.
United were keen for a swift and clean resolution and to avoid a protracted legal battle with the five-time World Player of the Year and ultimately got their wishes following talks between lawyers for both parties and Richard Arnold, the Old Trafford chief executive, and Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes.
Ronaldo’s exit marks a sad and ugly end to the player’s second spell at Old Trafford as what was billed as a dream “homecoming” turned into a nightmare and will ramp up the pressure on the 37-year-old free agent to deliver for Portugal at the World Cup as he looks for a new club. Portugal are due to face Ghana at Stadium 974 in Doha on Thursday.
United made no reference to Ronaldo’s incendiary interview in a 67-word statement released at 5.30pm on Tuesday and instead opted for a dignified tone as they thanked the renegade striker for his “immense contribution” over two spells with the club.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is to leave Manchester United by mutual agreement, with immediate effect,” the statement read.
“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.”
In a statement of his own, Ronaldo expressed his “love” for the club and its fans, despite his blistering criticism.
“Following conversations with Manchester United we have mutually agreed to end our contract early,” Ronaldo said. “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 had claimed he was “bullet proof” and “iron clad” in a surprise interview at Portugal’s training base in Qatar this week and expressed no regret over his interview and will now hope to impress at the World Cup to boost his chances of finding a new club.
Chelsea – who were interested in signing Ronaldo last summer – and Newcastle are thought to have distanced themselves from moves and David Beckham’s Inter Miami, who have been linked with Lionel Messi, are understood to be looking elsewhere. Ronaldo has also been linked with other MLS clubs in the US and teams in the Middle East. Saudi club Al Hilal offered Ronaldo an eye-watering deal in the summer that the player rejected.
In his interview with Morgan, Ronaldo – who tried and failed to leave United in the summer – pulled no punches over Ten Hag and claimed he had “no respect” for the Dutchman.
Ronaldo also accused the Glazers of not caring about the club and accused United of being stuck in a time warp and said there had been “zero progress” in terms of improvements to facilities and infrastructure since he left the club in 2009 after a successful first spell at Old Trafford.