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Man United, Ronaldo terminate contract by mutual consent

Joe Prince-Wright, Andy Edwards and Nicholas Mendola discuss their takeaways from the 2022 World Cup after an opening day that included a win for Ecuador over host Qatar, England's dominating victory over Iran and the draw between the USMNT and Wales.

Cristiano Ronaldo is officially a free agent after agreeing to terminate his Manchester United contract, the Premier League club announced on Tuesday.

In a brief statement, Manchester United closed the book on what turned out to be an ugly, legacy-altering reunion and second chapter with Ronaldo.

“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,” the statement read.

“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.”

Ronaldo has finally spoken out about his attempts to leave Manchester United and after months of silence he did not hold back.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Speaking to Piers Morgan, Ronaldo hit out at Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag, the club and people within it for not letting him leave this summer.

After starting in United’s 3-1 defeat at Aston Villa last weekend, Ronaldo, 37, has not featured in United’s final two games before the World Cup due to an illness. I think we can now read between the lines and suggest it may have been down to this interview.

Manchester United have responded to the interview by giving the statement below.

Statement from Manchester United after explosive Ronaldo comments

“Manchester United notes the media coverage regarding an interview by Cristiano Ronaldo. The club will consider its response after the full facts have been established.

“Our focus remains on preparing for the second half of the season and continuing the momentum, belief and togetherness being built among the players, manager, staff, and fans.”

Simply put: they are not happy with this.

Cristiano Ronaldo opens up on Manchester United situation

“Not only the coach but the other two or three guys around the club,” Ronaldo said when asked if United are trying to force him out. “I felt betrayed.”

Asked if he felt like they were trying to get rid of him, Ronaldo’s response went as follows.

“Honestly I should not say that. I don’t know. I don’t care. People should always listen to the truth. Yes, I feel betrayed and I felt that some people don’t want me here [at Manchester United]. Not only this year but last year too.”

He went on to say this about Erik ten Hag: “I don’t have respect for Erik ten Hag because he doesn’t show respect for me,” Ronaldo said. “If you don’t have respect for me, I will never have any for you.”

Hen then went on to hammer the club, saying nothing has changed since Sir Alex Ferguson has left. He also said he loves Man United and the fans but said the club has to change many things.

“Since Sir Alex Ferguson left I saw no evolution in the club, the progress was zero,” Ronaldo added.

Ronaldo slams Glazers, says club didn’t believe him about sick daughter

The excerpts continue to be released with the full interview not yet released and Cristiano Ronaldo has also hit out at United’s American owners the Glazer family.

“The owners of the club - the Glazers - they don’t care about the club,” Ronaldo said. “I mean professional sport. Manchester United is a marketing club, they get their money from the marketing... The sports, they don’t really care in my opinion.”

He also revealed that he felt United’s hierarchy didn’t believe him when he told them he couldn’t go on their preseason tour due to his daughter being ill in hospital.

“I spoke with the director and the president of Man Utd and they kind of didn’t believe that something was going wrong, which made me feel bad,” Ronaldo said. “And it is something that really hurt me because they doubted my word that I was struggling, especially Bella and Geo [Georgina Rodriguez, Ronaldo’s girlfriend]. We had one week in hospital because Bella had a big problem and I didn’t go to the pre-season because of that. I didn’t want to leave my family to do the pre-season because I didn’t think it was fair to leave my family for a pre-season. This is why I didn’t go.”

City move ‘was close’ as Ronaldo slams young players

“Well, honestly, it [moving to City] was close. They spoke a lot and Guardiola said two weeks ago that they tried hard to have me,” Ronaldo said. " But, as you know, my history is in Manchester United. Your heart, you’re feeling the way you did before, and it made the difference. And of course, as well, Sir Alex Ferguson. It was a conscious decision because the heart speaks loud in that moment.

“I think it [speaking with Ferguson] was the key. I wouldn’t say that Manchester City wasn’t close. But I think, I did [make] a conscious decision. I don’t regret at some point. And as you mentioned before, Sir Alex Ferguson was the key. I spoke with him… He said to me that ‘It’s impossible for you to come to Manchester City’. And I said ‘OK, Boss’.”

Ronaldo then went on to lambast the young players (he did praise United teammates Diogo Dalot and Lisandro Martinez) in the game today and hit out at their lack of hunger to succeed.

“They [the young players] live in a different era. My kid is 12-years-old, the mentality is not the same. The anger [is the difference], they have things more easily. They don’t suffer. And they don’t care. I don’t mean only a few at Manchester United, I mean in all teams. The new generation and the new technologies, they distract them. But they are not the same [in the way] that they listen but this is why we have two ears, as you listen from one side and they go away from another side,” Ronaldo added.

“So, it doesn’t surprise me. But in the same way, it’s a little bit [of a] shame because if they have the best examples in front of eyes, and if they don’t, at least copy what [they] did. For me, it’s kind of weird, because I remember when I was 18, 19, 20, I always looked to see the best players: (Ruud) Van Nistelrooy, (Rio) Ferdinand, Roy Keane, and (Ryan) Giggs - this is why I have the success that I have and longevity. Because I take care of my body, my mentality, my head, because I see these guys and I learn from them.

“I’m not the kind of guy who likes to give advice as I prefer to be an example. Because I’m an example. I’m there every morning and do the same stuff. I’m probably the first one to arrive and the last one to go out. I think the details speak for itself. As I told you before, they listen to one thing and in two minutes they have already forgotten and do what they think is better. This is why I say, I like to lead by example and some ones they follow me - but not much.

“They don’t care - some, yes, but most of them, no. But for me that is not surprising because they are not going to have longevity in their careers. It is impossible. In my generation you see many players reach 36, 37, 38 at a high level and I think this generation you will count on one hand how many will reach that level.”

What next?

After all this, it is clear Cristiano Ronaldo will not play for Manchester United again, even though he has over six months left on his current contract.

How can he?

After talking out against the manager and other club officials for the first time publicly, he knows what he wants to do. United are doing just fine without him (he has three goals in 16 appearances across all competitions this season) and he hasn’t slotted in to Erik ten Hag’s system at all despite United having issues with strikers out injured.

He also seems to have upset his teammates at United. Just look at the reception he received from United’ Bruno Fernandes when they met up on international duty with Portugal. Frosty indeed.

Ronaldo wants out of United after the World Cup and the timing of this interview is perfect as he will now go away with Portugal for the next six weeks and he will want his future and a move away sorted by the time the January window opens.

After scoring just once in the Premier League for United this season, being used sparingly and refusing to come on as a sub against Tottenham and leaving the stadium early during a preseason game, Ronaldo has not played ball and is not in Erik ten Hag’s plans. He wanted out all summer long and is now trying to turn it on the club.

United wanted to keep him and convince him to stay, while none of the so-called ‘super clubs’ seemed to arrive with a serious offer to sign him. After this stunt, you can understand why.

Let’s see if that will change in January as Ronaldo targets a return to the UEFA Champions League and after forcing him to stick around United will now surely be forced to offload him.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s second spell at the club where he made his name is set to end in an extremely unsavory manner.

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