Cristiano Ronaldo will leave Manchester United “with immediate effect”, the Premier League club said on Tuesday.
The 37-year-old forward conducted an explosive interview on the eve of the World Cup, criticising manager Erik ten Hag and the club’s owners.
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Last week, United said it had “initiated appropriate steps” in response to Ronaldo’s comments.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is to leave Manchester United by mutual agreement, with immediate effect,” the club said in a statement. “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, now playing for Portugal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, said in a statement on Tuesday that he loved the club and the fans. “That will never ever change,” he added. “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.”
During his interview before the World Cup, Ronaldo said the club’s United States owners, the Glazer family, cared far more about the money-making potential of United than results on the pitch.
The Glazers have long been unpopular with the United faithful, their 17-year reign marked by declining on-field performance and repeated fan protests.
Sky News reported on Tuesday that the Glazers were preparing to formally announce their intention to examine potential sources of outside investment that could include either an auction of United, with a full or partial sale, strategic partnership with third parties or other options.
United have not won the Premier League title since 2013 and has sacked several managers following the retirement of Alex Ferguson.
They have also failed to qualify for this term’s Champions League, a setback that may have encouraged Ronaldo in appearing to push for a move in the pre-season transfer window.
Meanwhile, former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand said both Ronaldo and the club had got what they wanted.
“Cristiano obviously did that interview with the mindset that he wasn’t happy and wanted to get out of the club,” Ferdinand, who played alongside Ronaldo at Old Trafford, told the BBC. “He made that very clear.
“I think Erik ten Hag got what he wanted in this situation as well. Both parties are happy and we can move on.”
Ronaldo was undoubtedly angered by his reduced status at United, with the club no longer at the summit of English football.