DOHA – Manchester United has “initiated appropriate steps” in response to Cristiano Ronaldo's explosive interview with Piers Morgan.
The Premier League club's legal team was waiting to review the full footage of the 90-minute discussion in which Ronaldo criticized United manager Erik ten Hag, teammates and the owners.
“Manchester United has this morning initiated appropriate steps in response to Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent media interview," the club said Friday. “We will not be making further comment until this process reaches its conclusion.”
The 37-year-old Ronaldo is in Qatar to play in his fifth World Cup with Portugal. But his future at Old Trafford looks to be over, with the forward's position widely considered untenable even before the full interview aired on Wednesday and Thursday.
A potential exit has been complicated by the limited number of clubs being able to meet his reported salary of about 500,000 pounds ($590,000) per week. But if he is found to be in breach of contract, a possible outcome could be the cancellation of his deal.
United officials were not aware any interview had taken place and had to wait until it was broadcast on TalkTV before determining the club’s legal position.
United also said it wants the process to be concluded swiftly.
Ronaldo’s comments have added to an acrimonious few months since Ten Hag took charge at the end of last season.
United's manager already cut the Portugal international him from his squad and forced him to train away from the team when he refused to come on as substitute against Tottenham.
“I think he don’t respect (me) the way I should deserve,” Ronaldo said. “But it is what it is. That is probably why the game against Tottenham, I left. ... This is why I say I don’t have respect for him, because he don’t show respect for me.
“This is why we are in that situation. I have to be honest that things are not going well because of that. Because the empathy don’t exist.”
Ronaldo, who failed to secure a move to a Champions League club in the offseason, paved the way for a potential departure in the January transfer window.
“Maybe it’s good for Manchester and probably is good for me as well to have a new chapter," he said. "Probably. But I don’t know.
“If I will be back, I will be the same Cristiano. But I hope people will be on my side and let me shine like I did at all the clubs and all years.”
AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson