MANCHESTER, England: Manchester United co-owner Joel Glazer will make the final decision about Cristiano Ronaldo’s future at the club after the forward’s incendiary TV interview, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.
Ronaldo’s position at United is considered untenable after saying he felt “betrayed” by the club in an interview set to be broadcast in Britain this week, where he also said he does not respect manager Erik ten Hag.
The interview has been widely viewed as an attempt by Ronaldo to force a move away from United after the World Cup. But Glazer will have the final say on any decision to sell the forward and it will be up to Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes to present potential clubs willing to buy him, the person with knowledge of the situation said. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue publicly.
The person also said United’s hierarchy has backed Ten Hag’s handling of the player and were fully supportive of his decision to cut Ronaldo from the squad and order him to train away from the first team after the Portugal international refused to come on as a substitute against Tottenham last month.
For Sunday’s match against Fulham in the Premier League, Ronaldo was left out of United’s squad for a second game in a row after the club said he had an unspecified illness. But he trained with Portugal’s national team on Monday as it began preparations for the World Cup in Qatar.
There was widespread speculation about Ronaldo leaving United even before the season started, but a potential exit is being complicated by the limited number of clubs that can afford to meet his reported salary of around £500,000 ($590,000) per week.
Ronaldo has six months remaining on his contract, and United’s lawyers are currently reviewing footage of the 37-year-old’s explosive interview to determine the club’s legal position, the person with knowledge of the situation said.
In the excerpts of the interview that were released Sunday evening, Ronaldo is heavily critical of Ten Hag, the owning Glazer family and the club in general.
“I don’t have respect for (Ten Hag) because he doesn’t show respect for me,” Ronaldo told interviewer Piers Morgan. “If you don’t have respect for me, I’m never going to have respect for you.”
United officials have yet to see the full interview and had no knowledge that it had been conducted before excerpts started to circulate on Sunday.
“The club will consider its response after the full facts have been established,” United said. “Our focus remains on preparing for the second half of the season and continuing the momentum, belief and togetherness being built among the players, manager, staff and fans.”