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Manchester United ready to tear up Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract after explosive interview

United are desperate not to involve themselves in mud-slinging with one of their greatest players

Cristiano Ronaldo smiles as he arrives for a Portugal training session yesterday. Portugal will play Nigeria Thursday in a friendly match in Lisbon before departing to Qatar on Friday for the World Cup. Photo: Armando Franca/AP Photo© AP

Jason BurtTelegraph.co.uk

Manchester United will consider tearing up Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract in the January transfer window – as long as he does not demand a pay-off for the remainder of his deal.

The club are considering their options, including whether to fine Ronaldo and whether they can take further disciplinary action, after his explosive, unauthorised interview in which he claims he has “no respect” for manager Erik ten Hag and accused United of betraying him.

Those options also include striking an agreement with Ronaldo to let him leave for free by terminating his contract which runs until June next year. But sources are adamant this will not involve paying the final six months of his lucrative deal understood to be worth around £560,000-a-week (€637,000), which makes him the highest-paid player in United’s history.

The suspicion is that this is what Ronaldo will demand, however.

United are desperate not to involve themselves in mud-slinging with one of their greatest players, although there is a general acceptance that he should never represent them again after his interview with Piers Morgan for Talk TV. There is relief that United do not play again until the middle of December which gives them time to decide their best option.

United, who were celebrating their 2-1 win in the final Premier League game before the World Cup break, only found out about the interview just before news broke that it had taken place.

The club released a statement yesterday that read: “Manchester United notes the media coverage regarding an interview by Cristiano Ronaldo. The club will consider its response after the full facts have been established.”

United will therefore await the full details of the interview, to be broadcast tomorrow and Thursday night, before deciding what formal action to take over the 37-year-old’s behaviour.

It may well be they even have grounds to terminate his contract due to what employment lawyers term “a potential breach of the implied duty of trust and confidence”.

There is a growing sense that Ronaldo will not be able to secure a leading European club. He may have to hugely reduce his demands and make a homecoming to Sporting in Portugal or revise his plans and look at the MLS.

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