Cristiano Ronaldo leaves Manchester United by mutual consent, effective immediately.
"The club thank him for his immense contribution in two games at Old Trafford, scoring 145 goals in 346 appearances, and wish him and his family all the best for the future," the English football club said in a statement on Tuesday night. Oh
"Everyone at Manchester United remains focused on continuing the progress of the team under Erik ten Hag and working together to succeed on the pitch," it continued.
After a year and a half, the second engagement at Manchester United for soccer superstar Ronaldo ends prematurely and ingloriously. Ronaldo - also known as CR7 - said of his departure from Manchester: "After discussions with Manchester United, we have agreed to end our contract early."
"I love Manchester United and I love the fans, that will never change. However, it seems the right time for me to look for a new challenge," he quoted the British broadcaster Sky News. "I wish the team every success for the rest of the season and for the future."
The relationship between the 37-year-old and the English record champions has long been considered broken. In an interview with British star presenter Piers Morgan, Ronaldo, who is currently on duty at the World Cup in Qatar, accused the Man United club officials and coach Erik ten Hag of "treason" and criticized the Glazer family, who own the club. The Glazers are not interested in the club, the Portuguese complained in the interview, which was broadcast over two evenings on TalkTV. He has no respect for coach Ten Hag because he doesn't respect him either.
In the World Cup quarters on Monday he tried to keep the whirlwind away from his national team. "I don't have to worry about what other people think. I speak when I want to," he said in his surprising public appearance before the World Cup opener against Ghana in Qatar. Everything that revolves around him is "always a debate," Ronaldo complained. He called for the team to finally be allowed to rest for the World Cup preparations: "Constantly asking about Cristiano is boring. The topic is closed."
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 scorer 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.