Cristiano Ronaldo leaves Manchester United with immediate effect


Cristiano Ronaldo is leaving Manchester United with immediate effect, the English Premier League club announced on Tuesday.

In a brief statement, United said the decision, taken a week after Ronaldo gave an explosive TV interview about his frustrations at the club, was by mutual consent.

“The club thanks him for his immense contribution in two appearances at Old Trafford, scoring 145 goals in 346 games, and wishes him and his family all the best for the future,” the statement read.

“Everyone at Manchester United remains focused on continuing the progress of the team under Erik ten Hag and working together to succeed on the pitch.”

Ronaldo is currently with Portugal national team in Qatar for the World Cup and said on Monday the timing of his recent comments about United would not spoil the focus of his Portuguese team-mates.

In an interview with Piers Morgan for TalkTV, released just before the start of the World Cup, Ronaldo explained how he felt United had betrayed him and that he had no respect for manager ten Hag.

Ronaldo’s departure from United brings the 37-year-old’s second spell at the club to a bitter and disappointing end after he has netted just once in ten Premier League games this season.

Used largely as a substitute by Ten Hag, he refused to go on the pitch against Tottenham Hotspur last month, instead going down the tunnel with minutes of the game remaining.

It is likely to be Ronaldo’s last appearance at a World Cup, and it is also unclear which club will sign him for the second half of the season.

When he first joined United in 2003, Ronaldo transformed himself from a tricky, skilled winger into one of the best players in the world.

He won three Premier League titles, the FA Cup, two League Cups, the Champions League and the first of his five Ballon d’Or crowns before joining Real Madrid in 2009.

Ronaldo’s return to United from Juventus last year was greeted with much fanfare by the club’s supporters but his second stint at Old Trafford could not match the success of his first as United ended last season without trophies.

“Following discussions with Manchester United, we mutually agreed to end our contract early,” Ronaldo said in a statement.

“I love Manchester United and I love the fans, that will never change. For me, however, it seems the right time to seek a new challenge.

“I wish the team every success for the rest of the season and for the future.”

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