Manchester United great insists Cristiano Ronaldo 'has to' be sacked

Pictured right is Manchester United legend Gary Neville and forward Cristiano Ronaldo on the left.
Gary Neville says Manchester United have been left with no choice but to sack Cristiano Ronaldo after his explosive comments. Pic: Twitter

Manchester United "has to terminate" Cristiano Ronaldo's contract in the wake of his explosive interview, according to club legend Gary Neville.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner says he feels "betrayed" by Manchester United after finding himself as a peripheral figure on the pitch since Erik ten Hag took over as manager in May.

WOW: David Beckham called out by comedian over Qatar controversy

SOCCEROOS FIFA World Cup GUIDE: Players, fixtures and how to watch

ALL THE INFO: The good, bad and ugly side of Qatar showpiece

In an astonishing pre-recorded interview with Piers Morgan that has been released in parts this week, Ronaldo criticised the United manager, the club's owners, the facilities at Old Trafford and even former and current teammates, leaving the football world in shock.

Among his more staggering remarks, the Portugal superstar said he "didn't respect" Ten Hag because United's manager doesn't respect him.

Many experts believe the interview is a way for Ronaldo to engineer a move away from Old Trafford, after his unsuccessful attempts to find a new club before the start of this season.

Supporters have also ben critical of the forward, with many believing he is ruining his legacy at Old Trafford and calls growing louder for Manchester United to show him the door.

Ronaldo's former teammate and 400-game United legend Neville - now a respected football pundit in the UK - says the Portuguese has left the English Premier League giants with no choice but to terminate his contract.

"He wouldn't have done this interview if he wanted a way back. He knew it would bring the headlines it has and be the end of his Manchester United career," Neville told Sky Sports.

"I'm wondering what Manchester United are doing because the reality of it is they know they have to terminate Cristiano's contract or they basically open up a precedent so any player can criticise them in the future.

"I agree with some of the things Cristiano has said, and many Manchester United fans will agree with many things Cristiano has said, but the reality is if you're an employee within a business and say those things your employment has to terminate, and Manchester United have to do that in the next few days."

Neville's comments come as another part of the Ronaldo interview has been released, in which the 37-year-old claims to have been “provoked” by Ten Hag after being asked to come on as a substitute for the final minutes of his side's Premier League win over Tottenham.

From left to right, Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag speaking with Cristiano Ronaldo during an English Premier League game in 2022.
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag (L) speaks with Cristiano Ronaldo during an English Premier League game in 2022. Pic: Getty

Cristiano Ronaldo felt 'provoked' by Man United manager

Ronaldo - who was a substitute for the 2-0 home win over Tottenham - made headlines around the world after refusing to come on, before walking off down the tunnel and leaving the stadium.

The Portuguese did not feature for the next Premier League match against Chelsea and claimed his reaction had been a result of Ten Hag’s comments about not wanting to send him on for the closing stages of the humiliating 6-3 defeat to rivals Manchester City.

“You don’t put me on against Manchester City because of respect for my career and you want to put me on for three minutes against Tottenham? It doesn’t make sense,” Ronaldo said.

“I think he did it on purpose. I felt provoked not only because of that game, but before. He doesn’t respect (me) the way I should deserve. But it is what it is. This is why probably, the game against Tottenham, I left.”

Seen here, unused substitute Cristiano Ronaldo storms off down the tunnel before full-time in Manchester United's 2-0 win over Tottenham.
Unused substitute Cristiano Ronaldo was seen storming off down the tunnel before full-time in Manchester United's 2-0 win over Tottenham. Pic: Getty/Twitter

Ronaldo, who is currently on World Cup duty with Portugal, added: “I think it was a strategy from the club for me to react that way. I was very, very, very, very disappointed for the communication of Manchester United.

The 37-year-old admitted that while he did harbour some "regret" over the Tottenham incident, he claims Manchester United has set him up to fail since he returned for a second stint at the club.

“It’s difficult to tell you 100 per cent, but let’s say I regret (it), but in the same way I felt provoked by the coach,” he said.

"For a coach to put me in three minutes in a game. Sorry, I’m not that kind of player. I know what I can give to teams.

“When I arrived at Manchester United, I always be available to help the team to do the good things, to put in the right spots, to compete with the best teams.

“But it’s hard when they cut your legs and they don’t like you to shine and they don’t listen to your advice.

“I think I have words to advise to the club. I think I can help a lot, but when the infrastructure is not good."

with agencies

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.