Manchester United have confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo has left the club, effective immediately.
Ronaldo, 37, has agreed a mutual termination of his contract following his explosive interview with Piers Morgan in which he criticised United and manager Erik ten Hag.
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A statement issued by the club on Tuesday read: “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.”
Sources have told ESPN that Ronaldo wanted to leave and that United have not paid him to go.
Ronaldo’s contract at Old Trafford was due to run until June, but United sought to cancel it early after the striker told Morgan the club had made “zero progress” since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 and that he “doesn’t respect” Ten Hag.
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In a simultaneous statement, Ronaldo, who rejoined United from Juventus in 2021, said it was “time for a new challenge.” He said: “Following conversations with Manchester United we have mutually agreed to end our contract early.
“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.”
Ronaldo is in Qatar preparing for his first game at the World Cup, with Portugal due to face Ghana on Thursday.
He is free to join another club immediately after leaving Old Trafford and will not have to wait until the January transfer window.
United had been keen to resolve the situation quickly, with sources telling ESPN they were ready to sue for breach of contract if a mutual termination could not be agreed.
LUSAIL, Qatar — Lionel Messi told his Argentina teammates there are “no excuses” for their shock defeat to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.
Argentina slipped to a 2-1 loss at Lusail Stadium despite leading in the first half through Messi’s 10th-minute penalty.
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The result will go down as one of the greatest upsets in the history of the World Cup, but Messi insisted there is a way back for his team — one of the pre-tournament favourites — if they can deal with the setback.
Asked how his teammates were feeling after the game, Messi said: “The truth? Dead. It’s a very hard blow because we did not expect to start in this way.”
“We expected to get the three points that would have given us calmness,” Messi said. “Things happen for a reason. We have to prepare for what is coming, we have to win, and it depends on us.
“There are no excuses. We are going to be more united than ever. This group is strong, and we have shown it. It is a situation that we haven’t gone through in a long time. Now we have to show that this is a real group.
“It’s a painful loss but we have to continue to trust ourselves,” he said. “We must turn the page and move on. We have to analyse what went wrong. Focus on the positives and turn our attention to the game against Mexico.”
Saudi Arabia manager Herve Renard suggested afterwards that Argentina — 48 places above his team in the world rankings — might have lacked motivation.
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Messi, however, insisted they had not taken their opponents lightly and told fans who have travelled to Qatar in their thousands that they will turn their World Cup campaign around when they face Mexico and Poland.
“My message to the supporters is to have faith,” Messi added. “We won’t leave them stranded.
“We knew that Saudi Arabia is a team with good players, that they move the ball well and that they push the [defensive] line a lot. We worked on it, but we rushed a bit. We have to go back to the base of who we are. We have to think about what’s next.”
Argentina arrived in Qatar as the reigning Copa America champions and on the back of a 36-match unbeaten run — they would have equalled Italy as the national team with the longest unbeaten run in history by avoiding defeat on Tuesday.
Coach Lionel Scaloni admitted afterward that the defeat was “difficult to absorb” but issued a promise that his team would still qualify from Group C.
“They scored two goals in their only two shots on goal,” Scaloni said.
“We have to get up. It’s a sad day today, but we need to have our heads up and continue. We are hurt, but we need to turn things around and win our next games.
“We continue to believe the same as we did before. The World Cup has this, you can be infinitely superior, and things don’t go your way.
“It’s never good to lose. We came into the World Cup in the best possible way, on a good run. We knew that it would eventually end.
“Fortunately, we have two group games, and we are going to get it done.”