Cristiano Ronaldo Leaves Manchester United After Agreement to Terminate Contract

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVNovember 22, 2022

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo gestures during the English Premier League soccer match between Aston Villa and Manchester United at Villa Park in Birmingham, England, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
AP Photo/Rui Vieira

Cristiano Ronaldo will leave Manchester United by "mutual agreement, with immediate effect," the club announced Tuesday.

Per David Ornstein of The Athletic, the two sides agreed to mutually terminate his contract.

Ronaldo released the following statement: "Following talks with Manchester United, we've mutually agreed to end our contract. I love Manchester United and I love the fans, that will never ever change. It feels like the right time to seek a new challenge. I wish Man United all the best."

The move doesn't come as a surprise after a season of discontent from the player's side that started when he didn't receive a summer transfer.

On Oct. 19, Ronaldo refused to be subbed on during a 2-0 victory over Tottenham, left the bench before the end of the match and was gone from the stadium altogether before his teammates made it back to the locker room.

That led to a one-match suspension.

It was the second time Ronaldo left a match early. He also departed in the second half of a July preseason friendly against Rayo Vallecano after he was subbed off at halftime.

Add in poor body language throughout the season and it was clear Ronaldo wasn't happy.

But things came to a head last week when Ronaldo's explosive interview with Piers Morgan was released.

In the interview, Ronaldo said the club's owners, the Glazer family, "do not care about Manchester United."

"As you know Manchester is a marketing club," he added. "They will get money from the marketing and they don’t really care about the sport, in my opinion.”

He also alleged that some at the club didn't believe him over the summer when he took time away from the club while his young daughter was having health issues.

"And [they] kind of didn't believe there was something going wrong which was making me feel bad," he said. "They believed, but in the same way, I'm never going to change the health of my family for football. Never. Now, or ten years behind or forward."

The club privately pushed back against that particular claim, per Luke Brown of The Athletic.

And Ronaldo said he felt "betrayed" by the club and that several people at United had tried to force him out of the club over the past two years.

"I don't have respect for him because he doesn't show respect for me," he added of manager Erik ten Hag. "If you don't have respect for me, I'm never gonna have respect for you."

Rob Dawson of ESPN reported last week that Ten Hag met with co-chairman Joel Glazer, chief executive Richard Arnold and football director John Murtough and expressed that Ronaldo should not play for the club again.

Ten Hag got his wish. Ronaldo, who was clearly angling to be so toxic that United had no choice but to terminate his contract, got his as well.