Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo will leave with immediate effect, the Premier League club said on Tuesday, marking a bitter end to the Portugal captain’s second spell at Old Trafford after he said he felt betrayed by the club.
The 37-year-old Portuguese forward conducted an explosive interview on the eve of the World Cup, criticising manager Erik ten Hag and the club’s owners.
Last week, United said it had “initiated appropriate steps” in response to Ronaldo’s comments.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is to leave Manchester United by mutual agreement, with immediate effect. The club thanks him for his immense contribution across two spells at Old Trafford, scoring 145 goals in 346 appearances, and wishes him and his family well for the future,” United said in a statement.
“Everyone at United remains focused on continuing the team’s progress under Ten Hag and working together to deliver success on the pitch.”
Ronaldo said in a statement on Tuesday that he loved the club and the fans.
“That will never ever change,” he added. “However, it feels like the right time for me to seek a new challenge. I wish the team every success for the remainder of the season and for the future.”
The star is currently in Qatar where he is expected to captain Portugal against Ghana in their opening Group H match against Ghana on Thursday.
In the interview with TalkTV, Ronaldo also said he did not respect ten Hag, putting him on shaky ground at the club he rejoined in August 2021 after winning eight major trophies with them from 2003-2009.
Last month, Ten Hag said Ronaldo had refused to come on as a substitute against Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur, when the forward walked down the tunnel with a few minutes of the game remaining after being put on the bench.
The player was then not part of the squad that faced Chelsea the following Saturday before returning to the fold.
Ronaldo later said in the interview he regretted leaving early against Spurs but added his decision to walk off came because he felt “provoked” by ten Hag.