Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo will be leaving with immediate effect, the Premier League club announced on Tuesday, marking a bitter end to the Portuguese captain’s second spell at Old Trafford after he said he felt betrayed by the club.
The 37-year-old Portuguese striker conducted an explosive interview on the eve of the World Cup and criticized manager Erik ten Hag and the club’s owners.
Last week, United said it had “taken appropriate steps” in response to Ronaldo’s comments.
“Cristiano Ronaldo will leave Manchester United by mutual agreement with immediate effect. The club thanks him for his immense contribution in two spells at Old Trafford, scoring 145 goals in 346 appearances, and wishes him and his family all the best for the future,” United said in a statement.
“Everyone at United remains focused on continuing the team’s progress under Ten Hag and working together to be successful on the field.”
Ronaldo said in a statement on Tuesday that he loved the club and the fans.
“That will never change,” he added. “However, it feels like the right time for me to take on a new challenge. I wish the team every success for the rest of the season and for the future.”
The star is currently in Qatar, where he is expected to captain Portugal against Ghana in the opening game of Group H against Ghana on Thursday.
In an interview with TalkTV, Ronaldo also said that he doesn’t respect ten Hag, which put him on shaky ground at the club he rejoined in August 2021 after winning eight major trophies with them from 2003-2009.
Last month, Ten Hag said Ronaldo had refused to play as a replacement against Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur when the striker walked down the tunnel with a few minutes left of the game after being placed on the bench.
The player was then not part of the squad that faced Chelsea the following Saturday before returning to the group.
Ronaldo said later in the interview he regretted going against Spurs early on, but added that his decision to leave was because he felt “provoked” by Ten Hag.