Manchester United say they have “initiated appropriate steps” following Cristiano Ronaldo’s comments in a controversial interview.
The club decided to wait until Ronaldo’s interview was fully broadcast before responding. Ronaldo recently spoke to Piers Morgan and the latest part of the interview was published in the UK on Thursday.
During the 90-minute debate, Ronaldo criticized Man United manager Erik ten Hag, his teammates and the club’s owners.
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“Manchester United has this morning initiated the appropriate steps in response to Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent media interview,” the club said on Friday. “We will not comment further until this process is complete.”
Ronaldo, 37, traveled to Qatar as he prepares to take part in his fifth World Cup with Portugal. Once the World Cup is over, the striker may not return to Old Trafford.
Many felt Ronaldo’s position at the club was untenable even before the full interview surfaced.
Wage demands were previously believed to have created potential barriers to the transfer of footballers. But if Ronaldo is found to be in breach of contract, it could pave the way for his contract to be cancelled.
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United officials claim they had no idea Ronaldo had interviewed Morgan and were waiting until it appeared on TalkTV before determining the club’s legal position.
United manager Ten Hag and Ronaldo have had a rather turbulent relationship since the end of last season.
Ten Hag forced Ronaldo to train outside the squad after the striker refused to come on as a substitute against Tottenham.
“I don’t think he’s being respectful [me] as I should deserve,” Ronaldo said. “But it is what it is. That’s probably why I left the game against Tottenham. … That’s why I say I don’t respect him, because he doesn’t show respect to me.”
Ronaldo did not leave for a Champions League club during the off-season, meaning he could leave in the January transfer window.
“If I come back, I will be the same Cristiano. But I hope that people will be on my side and let me shine as I have done in all clubs and years,” he said.
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Portugal will begin their World Cup campaign against Ghana on November 24.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.