Manchester United say they have “initiated appropriate steps” following Cristiano Ronaldo’s explosive, unsanctioned interview, with sources telling ESPN they are seeking to terminate his deal as well as potentially suing for breach of contract.
United have waited until the full extent of Ronaldo’s comments were made public before deciding on their response, and after the final part of the interview with Piers Morgan was aired on Thursday in the UK, the club, according to sources, are seeking to end the 37-year-old’s contract, which runs until June. Sources added that United have appointed lawyers to explore the possibility of suing Ronaldo for breach of contract.
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In a meeting on Monday, manager Erik ten Hag told club bosses including co-chairman Joel Glazer, chief executive Richard Arnold and football director John Murtough that he does not want Ronaldo back after the World Cup, and the Portugal international will be informed he is not welcome back at United’s Carrington training base after the tournament in Qatar.
A club statement issued by United on Friday read: “Manchester United has this morning initiated appropriate steps in response to Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent media interview. We will not be making further comment until this process reaches its conclusion.”
Sources have told ESPN that United have been taking legal advice since Monday morning after parts of Ronaldo’s interview with Morgan on TalkTV were leaked on Sunday.
Ronaldo has infuriated the club by claiming they have made “zero progress” since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 while also saying he “doesn’t respect” Ten Hag.
He also claimed Ten Hag provoked him into refusing to appear as a substitute against Tottenham Hotspur in October, leading to his suspension for the 1-1 draw at Chelsea.
Ronaldo has been training with Portugal in Lisbon and is due to arrive in Qatar with the rest of the squad at 11 p.m. local time on Friday. Portugal kick off their World Cup campaign against Ghana on Nov. 24.
Sources have told ESPN that United are hoping to conclude their action against Ronaldo “as swiftly as possible.”