Gary Neville, former teammate of Cristiano Ronaldo, has claimed that the club have been left with no choice but to terminate the Portuguese forward’s contract following comments made in an interview with Piers Morgan.
The Portuguese legend returned to Old Trafford a hero when he arrived in Manchester in the summer of 2021, but poor team form led to a disappointing season, despite the striker himself netting 18 times in the Premier League.
Erik Ten Hag’s appointment, however, made matters worse, with Ronaldo late to rejoin the club for pre-season amid concerns that he was pushing for a move away, and the relationship between player and manager having gone downhill ever since.
He was not brought on against Manchester City, a game his side lost 6-3 in, out of “respect for his big career”, and refused to be brought on a month later as his side beat Tottenham 2-0, storming down the tunnel before full-time and subsequently being dropped from the squad.
And, speaking to Piers Morgan, he revealed that he had no respect for either Ralf Rangnick or Erik ten Hag, before turning on his teammates and slamming the owners in an astonishing tirade against his lack of playing time at Old Trafford.
The result is that he has almost certainly played his final game for Manchester United, but former Red Devil Gary Neville, who shared a dressing room with Ronaldo, has claimed that the club must go one step further and terminate his contract, setting an example in the process.
“He wouldn’t have done this interview if he wanted a way back. He knew it would bring the headlines it has and be the end of his Manchester United career”, Neville told Sky Sports.
“I’m wondering what Manchester United are doing because the reality of it is they know they have to terminate Cristiano’s contract or they basically open up a precedent so any player can criticise them in the future”, he continued.
“I agree with some of the things Cristiano has said, and many Manchester United fans will agree with many things Cristiano has said, but the reality is if you’re an employee within a business and say those things your employment has to terminate, and Manchester United have to do that in the next few days.”
“They could have come together a couple of weeks ago and navigated a pathway through what could have potentially been choppy seas to the shore but it’s not happened. They’ve both basically backed themselves into a corner,” he added.
“Exits don’t have to happen this way if both sides are proactive and mature.”
Ronaldo is currently away on international duty with Portugal, where a stomach bug has kept him out of their warm-up friendly ahead of the World Cup.