Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has given his reaction to the club parting ways with Cristiano Ronaldo.
The striker’s exit from Old Trafford seemed inevitable following his recent interview, in which he criticised several big figures involved with the club. Man Utd soon began working on getting him sacked for breach of contract, and the parting of ways has now officially gone through.
Man Utd director of football John Murtough appears to have wielded the axe, with a club statement confirming Ronaldo’s departure.
It reads: ‘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’s own statement, though, claims the move was mutual. ‘Following conversations with Manchester United we have mutually agreed to end our contract early,’ he declared (via BBC Sport).
‘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.’
Rio Ferdinand discusses potential Cristiano Ronaldo transfers
Ronaldo’s former Man Utd team-mate Ferdinand was on BBC Sport’s coverage of the World Cup game between Mexico and Poland, which is when the Man Utd statement was released.
When asked for his opinion on the decision, Ferdinand suggested three aims Ronaldo may have in mind as he looks to finalise his future. The pundit also tipped Ten Hag to be very happy about the saga coming to an end.
“Both parties will be delighted now,” Ferdinand said. “He obviously did that interview with the mindset that he wanted to get out of the football club, he wasn’t happy. He made it very clear.
“But I also think Erik ten Hag has got what he wanted as well in this situation. So both parties are happy, [let’s] move on. Next chapter for Cristiano Ronaldo.”
When asked where he goes next, Ferdinand responded: “I don’t know, we were talking about it here [in the studio]. It depends on what the motivation is. Is it Champions League, is it money, is it just to continue playing somewhere with a nice climate?
“This will be panned out and going on behind the scenes but we’ll find out I’m sure in due course.”
One potential solution for Ronaldo is to secure a sensational return to Real Madrid. Of course, he swapped Man Utd for Los Blancos back in 2009.
Jorge Mendes has apparently offered Ronaldo’s services to Real following the injury to Karim Benzema. But it remains to be seen if that transfer will go through due to Ronaldo’s age.
For Man Utd, club chiefs must now look ahead to the 2023 transfer windows to find a striker replacement. Potential signings include Victor Osimhen, Joao Felix and Cody Gakpo.