Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo will leave the club with immediate effect, marking a bitter end to the Portuguese captain’s second stint at Old Trafford after saying he felt betrayed by the club.
United issued a statement on Tuesday evening announcing that they had reached a mutual agreement with the player to terminate his contract.
The development comes a week after Ronaldo unsettled the club in a candid TV interview.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is to leave Manchester United by mutual agreement, with immediate effect,” the club statement read.
“The club thanks him for his immense contribution over 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 achieve success on the pitch.”
Ronaldo, 37, joined United for a second stint last year but had fallen out of favor this season under new manager Erik ten Hag.
The Portuguese released 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 change. However, it seems like the time has come for me to look for a new challenge.
“I wish the team every success for the rest of the season and for the future.”
This development means that Ronaldo is now free to negotiate with other clubs.
It is understood there are no restrictions on who he can play for under his severance deal with United, nor any ongoing obligations for the Old Trafford squad.
Ronaldo’s relationship with the club had appeared to become strained at the start of the season and the problems were compounded by last week’s interview with TV presenter and journalist Piers Morgan.
Among his comments in the program were claims that he felt ‘betrayed’ by United and had no respect for Ten Hag.
He also said he felt people at the club were trying to force him out and that United showed a lack of empathy when his daughter was sick in hospital.
There were also wider complaints about the quality of the club’s facilities as well as criticism from owners.
When United responded by appointing lawyers to consider potential action for alleged breach of contract, it became clear that parting ways was likely.
“I think both parties will be delighted now,” former United team-mate Rio Ferdinand told BBC One.
“He obviously did this interview with the mindset that he wanted out of the club because he wasn’t happy and he said that very clearly.
“But I also think Ten Hag got what he wanted. Both parties are happy. Pass. Next chapter for Cristiano Ronaldo.
It was an abrupt end to a career at United which was relaunched to great fanfare in August last year.
Ronaldo looked set to join rivals Manchester City from Juventus, but a late United intervention sent him back to Old Trafford.
Ronaldo first joined United from Sporting Lisbon as a teenager in 2003. He won three Premier League titles and the Champions League before enjoying even greater success with Real Madrid.
After nine years at the Bernabeu and three more at Juve, he returned to United as a five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
He scored 18 Premier League goals 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 has started the current campaign slowly under new boss Ten Hag after missing out on their pre-season tour, starting just four Premier League games.
There was further controversy as he left the pitch early in a friendly and refused to come on as a substitute against Tottenham.
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