Ronaldo’s early departure was confirmed following the huge controversy that erupted as a result of the Portuguese superstar’s headline-grabbing interview with Piers Morgan last week, in which he made a number of explosive claims against United and revealed he did not respect current manager Erik ten Hag.
The unsanctioned interview infuriated United and appeared to leave no way back for Ronaldo at Old Trafford after a rocky few months and unresolved summer transfer saga, with multiple reports claiming that they had since begun the process of ending his £500,000-a-week contract at the club, which ran until next summer with the option for a further year.
In Pictures | Cristiano Ronaldo
United insisted in their brief statement on Tuesday that the 37-year-old’s exit was by mutual consent, despite those suggestions that he would be sacked.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is to leave Manchester United by mutual agreement, with immediate effect,” United said in a statement.
Cristiano Ronaldo is to leave Manchester United by mutual agreement, with immediate effect.
The club thanks him for his immense contribution across two spells at Old Trafford.#MUFC
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 22, 2022
“The club thanks him for his immense contribution across two spells at Old Trafford.”
Ronaldo’s own statement read: “Following talks with Manchester United, we’ve mutually agreed to end our contract.
“I love Manchester United and I love the fans, that will never ever change. It feels like the right time to seek a new challenge. I wish Man Utd all the best”.
It is a notably sour end to Ronaldo’s second spell at the club where he made his name, having rejoined from Juventus on a two-year contract for a fee of just £12.86million in the summer of 2021.
He made 346 appearances in total for United across those two eras, scoring 145 goals and winning a plethora of major silverware during his first stint under Sir Alex Ferguson, including three Premier League titles, the Champions League and FA Cup.
The announcement of his departure came less than 48 hours before Ronaldo and Portugal are due to open their World Cup campaign against Ghana in Qatar.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner is now free to find another club, with first employers Sporting Lisbon the early bookmakers’ favourites, ahead of the likes of Chelsea, Bayern Munich and a potential switch to Major League Soccer (MLS) in the United States.