Cristiano Ronaldo insists he still ‘loves’ Manchester United and their supporters after he was sacked by the club.
United have moved swiftly to terminate Ronaldo’s contract after the 37-year-old criticized Erik ten Hag and the club’s hierarchy during a two-part interview with Piers Morgan, which aired on TalkTV last week.
Ronaldo claimed that he had no respect for United manager Erik ten Hag and accused the Glazer family of letting standards slip behind the scenes at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo’s contract with United still had seven months left to run and was worth in excess of £500,000 a week, but it’s understood that the 37-year-old has not received a payoff after breaching the terms of his deal.
The Portugal international is now free to join a new club after the World Cup, although many team across Europe, including Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and Chelsea, passed up the chance to sign him in the summer window.
A statement from Ronaldo on Tuesday read: ‘Following conversations with Manchester United we have mutually agreed to end our contract early.
‘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.’
A statement from United on Ronaldo’s departure read: ‘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.’
When asked about his relationship with Ten Hag during the interview last week, Ronaldo said: ‘I don’t have respect for him because he doesn’t show respect for me.
‘If you don’t have respect for me, I’m never gonna have respect for you.’
Ronaldo also said he felt ‘betrayed’ and hit out at the club’s hierarchy for appointing Ralf Rangnick as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s temporary replacement last season.
‘People should hear the truth. Yes, I feel betrayed. Some people don’t want me here not only this year, but last year too,’ Ronaldo said.
‘I don’t know what’s going on. Since Sir Alex Ferguson left I have seen no evolution in the club. The progress was zero.
‘For example, an interesting point is how a club like Manchester United sacked Ole, they bring in a sporting director Ralf Rangnick which is something nobody understands. This guy is not even a coach. A big club like Manchester United bringing in a sporting director surprised not only me but all the world.
‘Nothing changes. Not only the jacuzzi, the pool, and even the gym. Even some points of technology, the kitchen, the chefs, who I appreciate, lovely people. They stop in time which surprised me a lot.
‘I thought I would see different things, technology, infrastructure. Unfortunately, we see many things I’m used to seeing when I’m 21, 22, and 23. It surprised me a lot.’