Cristiano Ronaldo has left Manchester United by “mutual agreement” in the aftermath of his making serious allegations in an interview, in an ignominious end to a supremely successful career at the club. He has left without a payoff and there are no restrictions on whom he can play for next.
United had appointed lawyers to explore potential action against Ronaldo for alleged breach of contract but their preferred option was to engineer his departure and that was confirmed on Tuesday.
A statement said: “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’s allegations included that he was being forced out by United, that senior executives lacked empathy after his newborn son died in April, that the owners, the Glazer family, do not care about the club and that the manager, Ten Hag, did not respect him.
Ronaldo is with Portugal at the Qatar World Cup and in his absence United banned him from the training ground and explored potential legal action.
United may seek to replace him in January.
In his first spell at United, between 2003 and 2009, Ronaldo won the Champions League, three Premier Leagues, the FA Cup, two League Cups and the Fifa World Player of the Year award.
The manner of his exit and what predicated it, though, may seriously tarnish his reputation. He twice walked out of United games after Ten Hag took over, after letting it be known he wanted a transfer in the summer.
The first early departure came when Ronaldo was taken off at half-time of the July friendly visit of Rayo Vallecano to Old Trafford, Ten Hag having removed him because this was Ronaldo’s first action after missing most of pre-season because of a family issue. Although other United players including Diogo Dalot also departed early, Ronaldo was the only one in the match-day squad.