A difficult task for Cristiano Ronaldo to find a big club after parting with Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo is looking for a new team after a turbulent few hours at Manchester United during which he announced that the star was leaving and the club could be sold.
The veteran Portuguese forward paved the way for his Old Trafford exit last week with a candid interview on TalkTV, in which he said he felt “betrayed” by the club and had no respect for new boss Erik ten Hag.
There was clearly no way back for Ronaldo and United released a statement on Tuesday confirming that they had parted ways with one of the greatest players in their history by “mutual agreement, with immediate effect”.
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Ronaldo, who is currently participating in the World Cup in Qatar, issued a statement of his own, declaring his love for the club and saying that it “seems like the right time” to look for a new challenge.
In addition to his criticism against United and Ten Hag, the 37-year-old was also critical of the club’s unpopular owners in the US in his interview with Piers Morgan.
Ronaldo said that the Glazer family, who loaded the club with huge debts when they bought it in 2005, cared more about United’s money-making potential than results.
Hours after the statement confirming Ronaldo’s exit from the club, United released another bulletin saying the Americans were considering selling.
Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, who played alongside Ronaldo at United, said both sides got what they wanted.
Ferdinand told the BBC: “Cristiano obviously did that interview with the mentality that he wasn’t happy and wanted out of the club. He made that very clear.
“I think Erik ten Hag got what he wanted in this situation as well. Both parties are happy and we can move on.”
Future options? –
Ronaldo’s problem is that the leading English and European clubs chose not to move him in the summer transfer window despite his desire to leave Old Trafford.
They would probably be more careful now, after witnessing his erratic behaviour.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who recently scored his 700th goal for the club, is a fading force yet still earns United’s reported massive weekly salary of around £500,000 ($595,000).
He has reportedly been in talks with Bayern Munich and has been linked with an emotional return to Sporting Lisbon, where he came through the youth ranks.
Ronaldo said he was offered a two-year deal worth $360m by a Saudi club, and still insists there is interest from top clubs in Europe.
If the European side fails to make contact, relocation to the United States is a possibility.
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The Portuguese superstar made his name in his first spell at Old Trafford, developing from a raw but prodigiously talented teenager into one of the deadliest strikers in the world.
He won three Premier League titles and the Champions League with United but left in 2009 after six years with Real Madrid, where he became the club’s greatest goalscorer, winning the Champions League four more times.
Ronaldo spent three years at Juventus since 2018 before making a sensational return to Manchester last year.
But he does join a club that has long lost its status as England’s top dog, and has not held a title since 2017.
Ronaldo is third highest scorer in the Premier League with 18 goals, but it has been a marginal number this season, as he has scored just three times in all competitions.
He has recently been disciplined for refusing to come on as a substitute as the relationship begins to fall apart.
The World Cup, where Portugal launches its campaign against Ghana on Thursday, is surely Ronaldo’s last chance to win the title and cap off a glorious career.
It may also be his last chance to show that he can still perform at the highest level.
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