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Cristiano Ronaldo: Manchester United exploring ways to terminate contract

Manchester United do not want to give Cristiano Ronaldo a pay-off to leave and given the will of both player and club to part ways, it is hoped a resolution can be reached soon; it is now clear there is "close to zero chance" Ronaldo will play for the club again

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Sky Sports News senior reporter Melissa Reddy gives an update on Manchester United's stance on Cristiano Ronaldo after his interview with Piers Morgan.

Manchester United are exploring ways to terminate Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract at the club following his explosive interview with Piers Morgan.

Ronaldo's interview on TalkTV - aired in two parts on Wednesday and Thursday - saw the 37-year-old criticise the club and manager Erik ten Hag, who the player says he has "no respect" for.

Ronaldo also claimed members of the United hierarchy are trying to force him out of Old Trafford and doubted him when he said he could not attend pre-season because his daughter was ill in hospital.

United said they would consider their response to Ronaldo's comments "after the full facts have been established" and released a short statement on Friday announcing the club had "initiated appropriate steps".

It is now clear there is "close to zero chance" Ronaldo will play for the club again.

Ronaldo's key quotes - a snapshot of his full interview

  • 'I feel betrayed by Man Utd | I have no respect for Erik ten Hag'
  • 'Man Utd doubted me over my sick daughter when I missed pre-season'
  • 'Glazer family don't care about Man Utd | United have stopped on a clock'
  • 'Man City move was close but Sir Alex Ferguson changed everything'
  • 'Youngsters don't care but Diogo Dalot and Lisandro Martinez are different'
  • 'Roy Keane is the best captain I ever had but Gary Neville and Wayne Rooney are not my friends'
  • 'I never saw Ralf Rangnick as the boss | Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did a good job'
  • 'I regret leaving Old Trafford vs Tottenham - I felt provoked'
  • 'I turned down €350m Saudi move | I don't know if I'll still be at Man Utd after World Cup'
  • 'I would be happy if Arsenal win the Premier League'
  • 'Lionel Messi is magic | I want to play until I'm 40'

While United have not put a time frame on the process but it is thought they want Ronaldo's exit done "cleanly and quickly" and in as dignified a way as possible - not only to minimise distraction at Old Trafford, but also to show respect to Portugal during the World Cup.

United do not want to give Ronaldo a pay-off to leave and given the will of both player and club to part ways, it is hoped a resolution can be reached soon.

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It is not an easy process given Ronaldo's contract is one of the biggest in the history of sport.

Sky Sports News learned this week United do not accept some of the criticisms Ronaldo made in the interview.

Ronaldo criticised the club for a lack of investment in the 13 years since he left Old Trafford. Sources have insisted United have invested in their facilities - notably the training ground, restaurant and swimming pool.

The Portugal forward was also critical of Ten Hag but sources insist Ronaldo was treated with respect by the club and the manager. In news conferences, Ten Hag always maintained Ronaldo had been given time off in pre-season to deal with family matters.

It has been confirmed to Sky Sports News there was an offer from Saudi Arabia in the summer, which United would have accepted but Ronaldo did not want to make the move.

There were no other official offers for the player in the last transfer window.

Neville: No way back to Man Utd for Ronaldo but I'm not against him

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Watch the full interview with Gary Neville who said there's no way back for Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United following his interview with Piers Morgan

Sky Sports' Gary Neville has said there is "no way back" for Ronaldo, but insists he is not against his former team-mate.

Neville, who was himself criticised by Ronaldo during his interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV, told Sky Sports he cannot see the Portugal forward playing for the club again.

"No, and l don't think he wants a way back," Neville said. "He wouldn't have done this interview if he wanted a way back. He knew it would bring the headlines it has and be the end of his Manchester United career."

Neville added: "I'm wondering what Man Utd are doing because the reality of it is they know they have to terminate Cristiano's contract or they basically open up a precedent so any player can criticise them in the future."

Asked for his thoughts and whether he was against Ronaldo, Neville replied: "It's not true, what he said, but all's fair in love and war.

"I live in the game of criticism and know I have to accept it, and I get plenty of it back. I love all my team-mates I played with, including Cristiano.

"I'm not against Ronaldo - far from it. I couldn't have any more admiration for him, I couldn't have any more respect for him. He's the greatest player I've ever seen and he's the most talented player I ever played with."

'Ronaldo's ending with United could have been so different'

Melissa Reddy, Sky Sports News Senior Reporter

"Manchester United are trying to apply dignity to what has been quite an unseemly situation because of Cristiano Ronaldo's behaviour.

"They want him out of the club as quickly and cleanly as possible without having to give him a payout.

"The club's thinking is that if he feels so strongly about everything he said, if he's that desperate to leave, if he believes all the accusations and allegations then he should be quite comfortable in annulling his contract and just walking away.

"Now we are told that if Cristiano Ronaldo doesn't play ball, if he doesn't accept this clean exit without the payout, then all options are on the table.

"We know heavy work has gone into pursuing legal avenues, United have done due diligence to see whether they can sue him for being in breach of his contract. He is unwelcome at Carrington and it's really such a messy ending to something that could have been handled so much better.

"A high-ranking source at United told me if Ronaldo had just had an open and honest conversation with them in the summer about wanting to leave then they could have come to an agreement. Instead, the club was completely blind-sided, at the start of June he was talking about how happy he was at Old Trafford, how excited he is to work under Erik Ten Hag, that he believes they're close to winning trophies again.

"And then you fast forward about a week or two and his camp are briefing the media that they've held talks with elite clubs that are in the Champions League because Ronaldo wants to extend his legacy in the competition. That caught United off guard and then it set a series of events in which Ronaldo has just looked out for Ronaldo.

"His behavior has been appalling, they feel that he's disrespected the club, his manager, his teammates, so a resolution is wanted quite quickly there on that front and hopefully can be handled in the best way possible.

"But that all depends now on Ronaldo."

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