Manchester United dedicated 81-words to Cristiano Ronaldo's Old Trafford exit in their Burnley matchday programme; United beat Burnley 2-0 to reach the Carabao Cup quarter-finals in their first game since Ronaldo left the club; Erik ten Hag did not mention Ronaldo in his programme column
Thursday 22 December 2022 14:13, UK
Manchester United dedicated 81 words to Cristiano Ronaldo in their Burnley programme following his acrimonious Old Trafford exit last month.
United announced they had mutually agreed to terminate Ronaldo's contract on November 22 in the wake of the forward's explosive interview with TalkTV's Piers Morgan, in which the club and manager Erik ten Hag were heavily criticised.
United reached the Carabao Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday by beating Burnley 2-0 in their first competitive match since the conclusion of the Ronaldo saga, but there was no reference to the 37-year-old in Ten Hag's programme notes.
Instead, the Dutchman chose to talk about United's warm-weather training camp in Spain, their friendlies against Cadiz and Real Betis, keeping in touch with members of his squad who appeared at the World Cup, and United's last Premier League outing at Fulham on November 13.
Ten Hag was asked about Ronaldo's exit in his post-match press conference following the victory and said: "I gave you all the opportunity, many of you were in Spain. We made the statement, we look to the future."
There was, however, a brief reference - an 81-word paragraph - within the 'Worth Knowing' feature of pages six and seven of the United Review programme which marked Ronaldo's departure.
It read: "Cristiano Ronaldo left the club by mutual agreement last month.
"The Portuguese superstar scored 145 goals across two spells and 346 appearances, and helped us win three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, two League Cups, the Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup. Ronaldo was also crowned Ballon d'Or winner in 2008.
"In a statement on November 22, the club put on record its gratitude for Cristiano's immense contribution and wished him and his family well for the future."
Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville said the manner of Ronaldo's exit was sad yet inevitable, and the time has come for both parties to move on.
"The only thing Manchester United could do was draw a line under the Ronaldo affair," Neville told Sky Sports. "They couldn't allow the situation to come to this side of the World Cup, it needed to be put to bed. They've handled it really quickly and the way it has ended is the best for both parties.
"It's sad it's ended this way but it was inevitable, it had to finish. He will go on and play football elsewhere and hopefully do really well, and Manchester United can move on under Erik ten Hag."