Manchester United are exploring the possibility of terminating Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract following his interview with Piers Morgan.
United have launched legal proceedings against Ronaldo for breach of contract, although the club must go through a series of procedures before the Portugal international may be fired.
Ronaldo, 37, gave a highly critical interview in which he accused his employers of betrayal and lashed out at head coach Erik ten Hag and the club’s hierarchy.
The Old Trafford club released a statement on Thursday saying: “Manchester United have taken appropriate steps this morning following Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent media interview.
“We will not comment further until this process is complete.”
All top players sign a contract in the Eredivisie with their clubs.
Under that agreement, they are required to “comply with and act in accordance with all lawful instructions issued by an authorized officer of the club” and must not “write or say anything that may bring the club into disrepute … or cause it” . damage to the club”.
United would have to establish through his comments the extent to which Ronaldo is in breach of his contract in order to determine what outcomes are possible.
Having initially rejoined United on a two-year contract with an option for an additional year in August 2021, his current terms were set to expire in August 2023 – assuming no agreement was reached on that additional year.
If Ronaldo is deemed to have breached his contract, the club may terminate his deal.
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Ronaldo said he felt “betrayed” by the club in an interview with Morgan published in The Sun newspaper.
The 37-year-old added that he feels he is being forced out of United, “not only by the coach (Erik ten Hag), but also by two or three other people around the club”.
He said: “I feel betrayed.
‘Some people, I feel, don’t want me here. Not only this year, but also last year.”
Ronaldo also addressed his relationship with Ten Hag, adding: “I don’t respect him because he doesn’t respect me.
“If you don’t respect me, I’ll never respect you.”
He also spoke of Ralf Rangnick’s time at the club, who was appointed interim manager last season following the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The German has had great success as director of football, but he had not managed a team for more than two years before taking over at United in November last year. Ronaldo said: “If you’re not even a coach, how are you going to be in charge of Manchester United? I had never even heard of him.”
Ronaldo told United he wanted to leave this summer should the club receive a suitable offer, but no satisfactory final offers were made for the striker.
He was previously criticized by his manager for leaving early in August during a friendly against Rayo Vallecano. He was substituted at half-time during the warm-up match and was then filmed off the ground before the end of the match.
Last month, he refused to come on as a substitute during the closing stages of his side’s win against Tottenham Hotspur. He was then left out of the squad for United’s match against Chelsea the following weekend, training alone for a week before returning to the line-up for their 3–0 Europa League win against Sheriff.
The Portugal international also missed his side’s last Premier League game before the World Cup stopper, a 2-1 win over Fulham on Sunday, due to illness.
Ronaldo has struggled for form in front of goal this season. The Portugal international has scored just one goal in ten Premier League appearances this season.
However, he has played a more prominent role in the Old Trafford club’s Europa League campaign. Ronaldo has started all six of United’s games in the competition, scoring two goals and claiming two assists.
In the Premier League, Ronaldo has largely been cast as a peripheral figure with just four starts.
United enter the World Cup break in fifth place in the Premier League.
The athletic has contacted Cristiano Ronaldo for comment.
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