Soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo responded to the inglorious and premature end of his second engagement at Manchester United with a declaration of love. "I love Manchester United and I love the fans, that will never change," the 37-year-old wrote on Twitter. Nevertheless, it is the right time to "look for a new challenge. I wish the team every success."
Shortly before, the club had declared the cooperation with the multiple world footballer to be over. Two days before Ronaldo's first game with the Portuguese national team at the World Cup in Qatar against Ghana, the Premier League club announced the separation.
"Cristiano Ronaldo is leaving Manchester United by mutual consent and with immediate effect," Manchester United said. The club thanked him for his "immense contribution" he made at Old Trafford with a total of 145 goals in 346 appearances. "Everyone at Manchester United is focused on continuing the progress of the team under Erik ten Hag and working together for success on the pitch," it concluded.
The relationship between the 37-year-old and the English record champions has long been considered broken. Most recently, Ronaldo's interview with British moderator Piers Morgan caused a stir. In it, the ex-European champion had accused the club manager and coach Erik ten Hag of "treason" and sharply criticized the Glazer family, who own the club.
The Glazers are not interested in the club, Ronaldo had scolded in the interview. He has no respect for coach Ten Hag because he doesn't respect him either. "Yes, I felt betrayed and I felt like some people here don't want me. Not just this year, but last year too."
Lost place as a regular player
Ronaldo is said to have tried to leave Man United last summer, probably also to play in the Champions League. However, there were no takers. In the current season, the first under Ten Hag, Ronaldo lost his place as a regular. He even refused to come on as a substitute. Ten Hag then temporarily suspended him.
Many Man United fans, who mourn the glorious and successful times under legendary coach Sir Alex Ferguson, may have spoken from the heart of Ronaldo with his criticism of those responsible for the club and the Glazers. The 2016 European champion said he saw "no development". Ferguson knows that, everyone knows that.
During his first spell at Manchester from 2003 to 2009, Ronaldo won three championships, the Champions League, FA Cup, League Cup and Club World Cup under his mentor Ferguson. He then went on to collect more trophies with Real Madrid and Juventus before making a surprise return to Old Trafford in the summer of 2021. Ferguson is also said to have been involved in this.
The comeback had started promisingly. The returnee scored twice on his first appearance against Newcastle United (4-1). With 18 goals in 30 games, he was the third-best goalscorer in the Premier League last season - behind Liverpool's Mohamed Salah and Tottenham's Heung-Min Son (both 23 goals in 35 games).
This season, on the other hand, there is only one league goal to his credit. About a year and a half after his celebrated comeback, it is now finally clear: Ronaldo and Man United - that was once.