United released a statement outlining that the decision was taken ‘by mutual agreement’ and comes days after the Portuguese took part in an interview with Piers Morgan where he heavily criticised various aspects of the club, its hierarchy and the management.
The statement read: “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. Everyone at Manchester United remains focused on continuing the team’s progress under Erik Ten Hag and working together to deliver success on the pitch.”
Ronaldo went on to release his own statement on social media where he declared his ‘love’ for the club and its supporters, despite events of the past few months.
The post read: “I love Manchester United and I love the fans, that will never ever change. 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.”
Ronaldo, currently on World Cup duty with Portugal who begin their campaign against Ghana on Thursday, is now free to move to any club, in any country with talk of a stint in the MLS having been rumoured, as well as a return to his native Portugal.
Former Manchester United team mate and pundit Rio Ferdinand believes this course of action is the best for all concerned.
“I think both parties are delighted with it,” said Ferdinand. “I think the action Cristiano Ronaldo took over the last couple of weeks with the the interview meant that this was the outcome he wanted and was aiming for.
“I think he got what he wanted, but I think [head coach] Erik Ten Hag has got what he wanted. The way things have gone at the club this season, I believe Erik Ten Hag deep down felt the team were better off without Cristiano Ronaldo.”
However, despite seemingly turning on the club, Ronaldo’s status among supporters at Old Trafford will not wane, according to Ferdinand who says “you cannot erase” the 37-year-old’s achievements while at Manchester United.
“I don’t think this affects or detracts from Cristiano Ronaldo’s legacy at the football club – what he’s achieved, his legendary status, I believe doesn’t change,” Ferdinand said on his Youtube channel.
“The measure of what he was when he was in the red shirt, playing football, and the amount of successful moments and trophies that he brought to the club when he was here, becoming the best player in the world when he was at Manchester United – these things you cannot erase from history.”