Manchester United are exploring the possibility of terminating Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract following his interview with Piers Morgan.
United have initiated legal proceedings against Ronaldo for breach of contract, although the club must go through a range of procedures before the Portugal international could potentially be sacked.
Ronaldo, 37, gave a momentous interview as he accused his employers of betrayal and of taking swipes at coach Erik ten Hag as well as the club hierarchy.
Old Trafford issued a statement on Thursday which read: “Manchester United this morning initiated appropriate steps in response to Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent media interview.
“We will not be making further comments until this process has come to a close.”
All First Division players sign employment contracts in the Premier League with their clubs.
Under this agreement, they are obligated to “comply with and act in accordance with all legal instructions of any authorized official of the club” and are not allowed to “write or say anything likely to discredit the club…or cause harm to the club”.
United will have to determine the extent of Ronaldo’s breach of contract through his comments to determine possible outcomes.
After initially re-joining United in August 2021 on a two-year contract with an option for an additional year, his current terms are due to expire in August 2023 – assuming an additional year is not agreed.
If Ronaldo is deemed to have breached his contract, the club can terminate his deal.
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Ronaldo said he “felt betrayed” by the club in an interview with Morgan published in The Sun newspaper.
The 37-year-old forward added that he feels forced out of United, “not only by the manager (Erik ten Hag), but also by two or three other people across the club.”
He said: I feel betrayed.
“I feel like some people don’t want me here. Not only this year, but last year as well.”
Ronaldo also touched on his relationship with Ten Hag, adding: “I don’t respect him because he doesn’t show respect to me.
“If you don’t respect me, I will never respect you.”
He also spoke about Ralf Rangnick’s time at the club, who was appointed as caretaker manager following the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last season.
The German achieved great success as a football manager, but he did not manage a team for more than two years before he took over United training in November last year, as Ronaldo commented: “If you are not a coach, how would you be the coach of Manchester United? I have never heard of him.”
Ronaldo has told United he wants to leave this summer, if the club receives a suitable offer, but no satisfactory firm offers have been made for the striker.
He previously drew criticism from his manager in August when he left early during a friendly match against Rayo Vallecano. He was substituted at half time during the warm-up match and then was photographed off the ground before the end of the match.
Last month, he refused to come on as a substitute during the closing stages of his side’s win over Tottenham Hotspur. He was then left out of the squad for United’s match against Chelsea the following weekend and trained himself for a week before returning to the squad for their 3-0 Europa League win over Sherif.
The Portugal international also missed his side’s final Premier League game before the World Cup break, a 2-1 win over Fulham on Sunday, due to illness.
Ronaldo has struggled for form in front of goal this season. The Portugal international has scored just one goal in 10 Premier League matches this season.
However, he has played a more prominent role in the Old Trafford club’s Europa League campaign. Ronaldo started all six of United’s matches in the competition, scoring two goals and assisting two goals.
In the Premier League, Ronaldo has been largely portrayed as a fringe figure with only four appearances.
United are heading into the World Cup break in fifth place in the Premier League table.
the athlete Contact Cristiano Ronaldo for comment.
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