Manchester United plan to resolve Cristiano Ronaldo’s future before their first game back after the World Cup on 21 December.
United released a statement on Friday explaining they have ‘initiated appropriate steps’ after the player’s explosive interview with Piers Morgan.
Reports suggest the club are now pushing to terminate Ronaldo’s contract, which expires in June. The club’s lawyers believe his actions are enough to consider it a breach of his contract, which is worth in excess of £500,000 per week.
ESPN claim the Premier League club would prefer not to sue the player in order to avoid a lengthy legal battle. Ronaldo’s response to their plans to terminate his deal will decide their next line of action but United are hoping to have the matter resolved before the return of the domestic season.
Ronaldo is now with the Portugal squad ahead of their World Cup group opening game against Ghana on Thursday. United’s season restarts on 21 December when Erik ten Hag’s side host Burnley in the Carabao Cup before the Premier League match against Nottingham Forest on 27 December.
United hope for a decision to be finalised before then. Ronaldo has also been told he is not welcome back at the club’s Carrington training base, even in the event Portugal suffer an early World Cup exit.
Ten Hag has informed the United hierarchy that Ronaldo should not play for them again, having revealed in his interview with Morgan that he does not respect the Dutchman.
Ronaldo also took aim at club owners the Glazer family, legends Wayne Rooney and Gary Neville in addition to questioning the dedication of some young players at the club.
‘I don’t think that word [respect] is the best one, they live in a different era,’ Ronaldo said of some of his younger teammates. ‘I can see with my kid, who is 12-years-old, the mentality is not the same.’
Asked about the difference between United’s youngsters and players his own age, Ronaldo added: ‘The hunger. They have things more easily. Everything is easy. They don’t suffer, they don’t care. I don’t mean just Man United, but all teams. They are not the same as my generation.
‘But we cannot blame them. It is part of the life of the new generation, the new technologies which distract them from other things.
‘They are not the same. They listen, but they hear one side [and it goes out the other ear]. It doesn’t surprise me, but it is a shame.’