The Funchal star becomes a free agent after terminating his contract with the Red Devils and is looking for suitors
On the eve of the coming-out in what will be his fifth World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo is back in the headlines. Manchester United announced on Tuesday an agreement with the Portuguese star for his departure, thus putting an end to an unsustainable situation for months. “Cristiano Ronaldo will leave Manchester United by mutual agreement, effective immediately. The club thanks him for his immense contribution during two spells at Old Trafford, scoring 145 goals in 346 appearances, and wishes him and his family the best for the future,” said the statement issued by the Mancunian entity. “Everyone at Manchester United remains focused on continuing the team’s progress under Erik ten Hag and working together to achieve success on the field,” adds the cold note that shook the football planet.
“Following discussions with Manchester United we have agreed to terminate our contract early. I love United and I love their fans, that will never change. However, I feel that the time is right to look for a new challenge. I wish the team all the success for the rest of the season and for the future,” said the former soccer player for Sporting de Portugal, Real Madrid and Juventus.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s second stage at Old Trafford culminates in a stormy divorce that became the only feasible way out since the star lashed out a few days ago against the Manchester United board, his until now coach and several of his teammates in an interview with journalist Piers Morgan. The volley of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner stirred up the upper echelons of United and sealed a soap opera that began when Ten Hag relegated him to the bench. A full-fledged slap in the face for the ego of a figure used to being the center of gravity in all the teams in which he has played and who, at 37, is reluctant to abandon that status.
“Cristiano Ronaldo will leave Manchester United by mutual agreement, effective immediately. The club thanks him for his immense contribution during two spells at Old Trafford, scoring 145 goals in 346 appearances, and wishes him and his family all the best for the future.”
The bitter confrontation between Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United had an impact on the bad start to the season by the Red Devils. The Glazers, owners of the club, threw themselves into the arms of Ten Hag in the hope that he would end the long journey through the desert of a team that fell into a tailspin after Sir Alex Ferguson left the bench he held for more than two decades. But Ten Hag and Cristiano Ronaldo collided from the first day.
The coach considered that Cristiano should assume a condition of mere revulsion, something that the crack considered as an insult to his dazzling career. «I have no respect for him because he does not respect me. If you don’t have respect for me, I will never have respect for you », he asserted in the volcanic chat with Piers Morgan. But the Portuguese went further and also targeted other United bodies. “I feel betrayed, they have made me the black sheep,” he said.
“I love United and I love their fans, that will never change. However, I feel that the time is right to look for a new challenge.”
Cristiano did not feel supported by the club after one of the babies he was expecting with his partner, Georgina Rodríguez, died prematurely and another suffered an illness that led to his hospitalization. “I had a very bad preseason. I had some problems on vacation, where one of my children had bronchitis. I was in Majorca and had to spend a week in the hospital. People made up stories that I wanted to travel. People need to realize that I am a human being and I want to be with my family. I am a human being and I went through difficult times. I spoke to the director and president of United and they kind of didn’t believe something was going on. I will never trade my family’s health for soccer, never. That really hurt me. They doubted my words,” he explained.
Cristiano spoiled United’s sports policy. “I have not seen evolution in the club since Sir (Ferguson) left, the progression has been zero,” he analyzed. He also criticized the choice of the German Ralf Rangnick as head honcho of said plot. “If you’re not even a manager, how are you going to be the boss of Manchester United? I hadn’t even heard of him,” said a star who also complained about the lack of ambition of some of United’s young talents, who he felt should follow his example.
The crack dynamited all the bridges and Manchester United accelerated their departure. But the bad atmosphere was extended to the Portuguese team, whose preparation for the World Cup in Qatar was overshadowed by the merciless war of the all-time top gunner of the ‘Quinas’ against United. The cold greeting with his teammate Bruno Fernandes and another disagreement with Joao Cancelo gave a good account of the enormous problem that Fernando Santos had on his hands.
The agreement reached between United and Cristiano for the departure of this from the club of which he was the flag in his first stage and which served as a catapult towards a definitively established stardom with the four Champions he won with Real Madrid, closes that front, but opens another with which the Portuguese team will have to live now as it is the future of the star. The British press is already pointing to Newcastle as a possible destination for a player who is already a free agent and who, therefore, can sign for any club, although he will not be able to sign up until the winter transfer window opens on January 2.
His agent, the powerful Jorge Mendes, knocked on the doors of many greats in the summer with no luck because Cristiano wants to remain the flagship wherever he goes and hardly anyone is willing to grant him that role in the twilight of his career. But the footballer is confident that a good role in the World Cup in Qatar will serve as a springboard when it comes to refloating a career that entered a downward curve after he said goodbye to Real Madrid in 2018.