Cristiano Ronaldo's spat with Manchester United looks to be at an end, after the club announced it was parting ways with the Portuguese star with immediate effect. Tension had been building between player and club ever since Ronaldo walked out on a match after twice being asked to warm up for a second-half cameo, only to be overlooked.
Via a statement released overnight, Manchester United confirmed they had come to a mutual agreement with the 37-year-old to terminate his contract. Ronaldo made 346 appearances for Manchester United in two separate stints with the club, netting 145 goals.
'UTTER DISGRACE': Fury over 'terrible' incident at World Cup
Ronaldo first joined Manchester United in 2003, going on to win three Premier League titles and a Champions League triumph before moving on to Real Madrid in 2009. After returning to Manchester United in 2021, Ronaldo scored 18 goals in a difficult Premier League campaign under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Michael Carrick and Ralf Rangnick.
His exit from the club was ultimately sparked by his incendiary television interview with Piers Morgan, in which he said he felt 'betrayed' by the club. He has started in just four games under manager Erik ten Hag. Among his comments in the programme were claims that he felt "betrayed" by United and that he had no respect for ten Hag.
He also said that he felt people at the club were trying to force him out and that United showed a lack of empathy when his daughter was in hospital ill. There were also wider complaints about the standard of facilities at the club as well as criticism of the owners.
When United responded by appointing lawyers to consider potential action for alleged breach of contract, it became clear a parting of the ways was likely. The confirmation of Ronaldo's exit from the team caused a massive stir among football fans on social media.
It's an emotionally complex one. Overall I'm glad I witnessed @Cristiano play another fourteen months for Manchester United.
I'm glad that when he made history and became the greatest goalscorer in the men's game, he was wearing the badge of the club that made him who he is. pic.twitter.com/rbDTPuGmOb
— Wayne Barton (@WayneSBarton) November 22, 2022
Inevitable Ronaldo left #MUFC after that interview. Sad, avoidable, messy end that tarnishes his legacy. Should have left in summer when ETH, who wants energy/pressing, arrived. But let's not forget what a great player he was. Interesting to see how many elite clubs chase him now
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) November 22, 2022
Manchester United have terminated Cristiano Ronaldo's contract. The fairytale return has ended in a nightmare.
— DaveOCKOP (@DaveOCKOP) November 22, 2022
Ronaldo moving on is best for both parties.
While I criticised him for his actions and conduct in recent times, I still love the guy.
I hope he has a great end to his career. Will never forget his return game against Newcastle, got to witness it at OT with my Dad. Special day
— Ryan (@Itshaber) November 22, 2022
Cristiano Ronaldo leaving with #mufc by mutual agreement immediate effect. Sad end to his time at Old Trafford but now both sides can move on. Ten Hag dealt with the whole situation really well.
— Charlotte Duncker (@CharDuncker) November 22, 2022
Indication is that Ronaldo wanted to leave Man United as much as they wanted him to move on and because of that they’re not paying him to go. Will almost feel like a fresh start for Ten Hag when the season resumes now he’s off the books.
— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonESPN) November 22, 2022
The club statement 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."
Manchester United move on from Cristiano Ronaldo after messy feud
The Portuguese issued his own statement which 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."
The development means Ronaldo is now free to negotiate with other clubs. It is understood there are no restrictions on who he can play for under the terms of his departure agreement with United, nor are there any ongoing obligations for the Old Trafford outfit.
Ronaldo also claimed in his interview that he felt people at the club were trying to force him out and that United showed a lack of empathy when his daughter was in hospital ill. There were also wider complaints about the standard of facilities at the club as well as criticism of the owners.
When United responded by appointing lawyers to consider potential action for alleged breach of contract, it became clear a parting of the ways was likely. It is an abrupt end to a career at United that was revived amid much fanfare in August last year.
Ronaldo had looked set to join rivals Manchester City from Juventus but a late intervention from United took him back to Old Trafford. After nine years at the Bernabeu and a further three at Juve, he returned to United as a five-time Ballon d'Or winner.
He scored 18 goals in the Premier League last season but United struggled, finishing sixth in a campaign in which they were managed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Michael Carrick and Ralf Rangnick. He made a slow start to the current campaign under new boss Ten Hag after missing their pre-season tour, starting just four Premier League games.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.