Manchester United have taken the first steps towards kicking Cristiano Ronaldo out of the club over his bombshell interview with Piers Morgan.
Sportsmail understands United have begun the legal process of effectively sacking Ronaldo by tearing up his £500,000-a-week contract without paying the Portugal star a penny of the £16million he would have earned until it expired in June.
United’s lawyers are satisfied Ronaldo has breached the terms of his contract with his explosive allegations against the club, the Glazers, manager Erik ten Hag and his teammates.
The interview aired in two parts on Wednesday and Thursday following a slew of teaser clips since the weekend.
United said earlier in the week that they would consider their response once the full facts were established, and issued a statement on Friday.
It 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.’
United felt they had to offer some response in the face of Ronaldo’s claims but would not comment on what the process will involve.
Manchester United say they have taken ‘appropriate steps’ in response to Cristiano Ronaldo’s bombshell interview – beginning the process of sacking the Portuguese star
This is the first public statement released by United since the interview was broadcast
Sportsmail exclusively reported on Monday that United would look to fire Ronaldo
However, it’s understood that it relates to initiating legal action to cancel the contract. United are loath to pay Ronaldo any compensation because it would be seen as rewarding disloyalty.
The Glazers, chief executive Richard Arnold, football director John Murtough and Ten Hag decided that Ronaldo has burnt his bridges at Old Trafford and there was no way back for him at the club.
They rejected the idea of more disciplinary action after Ronaldo was dropped and made to train on his own last month for walking out on the win over Tottenham having refusing to come on as a substitute.
Ronaldo’s teammates also expect him to leave with the mood towards him described on Friday morning as ‘ambivalent’.
Sportsmail revealed earlier this week that United are consulting lawyers on whether his comments constitute a breach of his £500,000-a-week contract.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s explosive interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV continues to cause drama
United’s hierarchy wanted to wait until the full TalkTV interview had been aired – which it was in two parts on Wednesday and Thursday evenings – before deciding whether to take action.
Ronaldo instigated the interview with Morgan, timed to coincide with the World Cup break when he will be away from United with Portugal for at least three weeks.
The 37-year-old, who returned to United for a second spell in the summer of 2021, accused Ten Hag and executives of trying to force him out the club.
The Dutch coach, who took over this summer, dropped Ronaldo to the bench and has limited his game time, to the irritation of the Portuguese star.
‘I have no respect for him [Ten Hag] because he doesn’t show respect for me,’ Ronaldo told Morgan.
‘Some people, they don’t want me here – not only the coach but the other two or three guys. Not only this year, but last year too.
‘Honestly, I shouldn’t say that. But listen, I don’t care. People should listen to the truth. Yes, I feel betrayed.’
Ronaldo claimed he feels ‘betrayed’ by United and said he has ‘no respect’ for boss Erik ten Hag
Ronaldo thinks United haven’t evolved at all since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013
In the explosive interview with his friend Piers Morgan on TalkTV, Ronaldo also criticised the club’s last of progress since he first left in 2009.
He added: ‘Since Sir Alex Ferguson left I saw no evolution in the club, the progress was zero.
‘Nothing changed. Not only the pool, the jacuzzi, even the gym. They stopped in time, which surprised me a lot.
‘I think the fans should know the truth. I want the best for the club. But you have some things inside [the club] that don’t help reach the top level as City, Liverpool and even now Arsenal.’
United officials were reportedly baffled by Ronaldo’s comments about the Carrington training ground, which has been refurbished in some areas.
Ronaldo also raised eyebrows behind the scenes at United after claiming the club ‘didn’t believe’ his baby daughter Bella was in hospital suffering from bronchitis – causing him to miss their pre-season tour to Thailand and Australia over the summer.
In his interview, Ronaldo said: ‘I spoke with the directors and president of Manchester United and they kind of didn’t believe that something was going wrong which made me feel bad.
Ronaldo and partner Georgina Rodriguez tragically revealed their newborn son had died during birth on April 13, and three months later his twin daughter was also hospitalised
Rodriguez pictured heading on a family holiday back in the summer, holding daughter Bella
‘They believed it but it’s something that really hurt me because they doubted my words.
‘We had one week in hospital because Bella had big problems and I didn’t go to the pre-season because of that.
‘Because I wasn’t going to leave my family if something happened to do a pre-season because I didn’t think it was fair to leave my family.
‘This is why I didn’t go.’
Ronaldo is now heading to the World Cup in Qatar with Portugal and will be away from United
The Portugal captain and partner Georgina Rodriguez, 28, revealed that their newborn son had died during birth on April 18, but his twin daughter Bella survived.
Ronaldo will now be on international duty with Portugal until they are eliminated from the World Cup. Their opening game in Group H is against Ghana next Thursday.
Ronaldo played no part in Portugal’s warm-up friendly against Nigeria on Thursday after picking up a stomach bug.