Cristiano Ronaldo ‘split with Jorge Mendes over Piers Morgan interview’


Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly split with his long-serving agent Jorge Mendes after a disagreement over his bombshell Piers Morgan interview – which led to his bitter Manchester United exit.

The 37-year-old Portugal forward was officially unveiled as an Al Nassr player on Tuesday following his arrival in Saudi Arabia after he agreed a £175million-a-year contract.

It follows a tumultuous few weeks in which Ronaldo accused United of ‘betraying’ him and took aim at manager Erik ten Hag, who’d dropped him earlier in the season, in the TalkTV interview.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s long-standing relationship with agent Jorge Mendes ‘came to an end over a disagreement over his bombshell interview with Piers Morgan’

Ronaldo and Mendes reportedly fell out over the interview, with the agent not involved in finalising his £175million-a-year deal with Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr

Ronaldo and Mendes reportedly fell out over the interview, with the agent not involved in finalising his £175million-a-year deal with Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr

Ronaldo left Manchester United after accusing the club of 'betraying' him in his interview with Piers Morgan in November

Ronaldo left Manchester United after accusing the club of ‘betraying’ him in his interview with Piers Morgan in November 

According to Portuguese news outlet Publico, Mendes objected to Ronaldo giving the interview and knew afterwards that any hopes of finding the star another top club in Europe had vanished.

The two decade-long relationship between Ronaldo and Mendes had been deteriorating for some time and his personal manager Ricky Regufe negotiated his transfer to Al-Nassr.

Publico say that Ronaldo expected offers to roll in from elite European clubs if he performed at the World Cup in Qatar, regardless of the acrimonious nature of his Old Trafford departure.

Mendes thought differently, knowing only Al-Nassr could match Ronaldo’s salary demands. Indeed, he had already got the ball rolling by sounding out the Saudi club’s interest.

Ronaldo (right) has been represented by Mendes (left) since he joined Man United in 2003  during his first spell at Old Trafford when Sir Alex Ferguson (centre) was at the helm of the club

Ronaldo (right) has been represented by Mendes (left) since he joined Man United in 2003  during his first spell at Old Trafford when Sir Alex Ferguson (centre) was at the helm of the club

Ronaldo's Portugal team-mates reportedly grew uneasy about the presence of his personal manager Ricky Regufe (middle) during the Qatar World Cup

Ronaldo’s Portugal team-mates reportedly grew uneasy about the presence of his personal manager Ricky Regufe (middle) during the Qatar World Cup

Regufe - second left - has been a close associate of the legendary forward since 2018

Regufe – second left – has been a close associate of the legendary forward since 2018

Regufe started off as a marketing chief for Nike before forging a friendship with Ronaldo

He is a regular face at Portugal games

Regufe started off as a marketing chief for Nike before forging a friendship with Ronaldo

When Ronaldo flopped at the World Cup – he was dropped by Portugal coach Fernando Santos for the knockout rounds – this theory was confirmed.

Publico say Ronaldo’s behaviour was a ‘constant source of irritation’ for the Portugal team during the tournament, with his team-mates and the federation ‘hushing up almost everything’.

At this point, Refuge – who was embedded in the Portugal camp during the World Cup, something which raised eyebrows from other squad members – stepped in to arrange his move to the Middle East.

Friction quickly emerged between Refuge and Mendes’ company Gestifute.

The 37-year-old forward is pictured in the Al-Nassr kit during his presentation in Riyadh

The 37-year-old forward is pictured in the Al-Nassr kit during his presentation in Riyadh

Ronaldo even has time to take a selfie with the presenters on stage during his unveiling

Ronaldo even has time to take a selfie with the presenters on stage during his unveiling

At his presentation on Tuesday, Ronaldo claimed he was offered ‘many opportunities in Europe and many clubs in Brazil, Australia, USA and even in Portugal’ – but he’d already given his word to Al-Nassr. 

Ronaldo was introduced as ‘the world’s greatest footballer’ in front of 25,000 raucous supporters at Mrsool Park in Riyadh, to a backdrop of fireworks, flares and strobe lighting. 

Ronaldo has been criticised for quitting the European game and taking the Saudi money.

But he said: ‘This contract is unique but I’m a unique player, so for me it’s normal. I really don’t worry about what people say. I am really, really happy to be here. I am so proud to make a big decision in my life. My work in Europe is done. I won everything. I played for the most important clubs.

Ronaldo confirmed that he turned down an offer to play football in Australia and the USA

Ronaldo confirmed that he turned down an offer to play football in Australia and the USA

But it could have been different for Ronaldo, who said he had offers from all over the world

But it could have been different for Ronaldo, who said he had offers from all over the world

‘For me now, it is a new challenge in Asia. I’m grateful that Al Nassr have given me this opportunity to develop not only the football, but also for the young generation, the women’s generation. I want to change the mentality of the new generation.’

Ronaldo met his new team-mates – currently second in the Saudi Pro League – before swapping his three-piece suit for a yellow home kit and kicking balls into the packed stands.

To huge cheers, he told supporters: ‘It is a pleasure to be here. I will give my best for this club. My goal is to make people happy, to enjoy myself and to help the country be better and better.’

Ronaldo will reportedly help Saudi in their bid to host the 2030 World Cup, but insists he is there primarily to play football.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract at Man United was terminated by mutual consent in December

Ronaldo conducted a bombshell interview with Morgan last month in which he took aim at Ten Hag, Manchester United and various other figures

This move came just days after Ronaldo’s bombshell interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV

He added: ‘I have beaten a few records there (Europe) and I want to beat a few records here. I am coming here to win, to play and to enjoy and be part of the success of the country and the culture of the country.

‘I know the league is very competitive. I have seen many games. I am ready to enjoy this, to smile and to still play football.’

There was an embarrassing moment for Ronaldo, however, when he said he was happy to be playing in South Africa rather than Saudi Arabia. 

Video footage released on social media shows Ronaldo saying: ‘The football is different, so for me it’s not the end of my career to come to South Africa. This is why I want to change, and to be honest I’m really not worried about what people say.’ 

CRISTIANO RONALDO TO AL-NASSR – ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk