The two parties announced that the relationship between Manchester United and Cristiano Ronaldo had stopped breathing, and ended by “mutual agreement” on Tuesday. But for the Portuguese, present in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup and now free to get involved where he wants, the future looks very uncertain.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is leaving Manchester United by mutual agreement, with immediate effect,” he wrote cheekily to the club in its press release, thanking him for his “tremendous contribution during his two spells at Old Trafford.”
The 37-year-old star, who is currently in Qatar with the Portuguese selection, posted his own press release to confirm that he “loves Manchester United and (…) the fans and that will never change.”
“However, I feel the time has come for me to look for a new challenge,” he wrote, before wishing the club “all (possible) success for the rest of the season and in the future”.
This polite exchange poorly masks the mutual relief at seeing the end of a relationship past the point of no return with the incendiary interview in which the player settled scores with the English club last week, saying he felt “betrayed”.
– I stayed in the dock this summer –
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Ralf Rangnick and Erik ten Hag, i.e. all his former or current coaches during his second spell at Old Trafford took it to their rank, as well as a few veterans, such as Wayne Rooney who had the audacity to criticize his performance and behaviour.
Ronaldo, who notably left his teammates and the field even before the end of the Premier League match against Tottenham after refusing to participate, was far from blame.
In any case, he is no longer at all in the plans of Ten Hag, who was placed on the bench in Manchester this summer and who has been boosted by the very good results obtained by cutting out the services of “CR7”.
He remained limited to minutes at the end of the game and “minor” meetings, such as the Europa League, which has accumulated 183 Champions League appearances (and 140 goals) with Manchester, Real Madrid and Juventus in 19 seasons at the highest level. level.
Already this summer, the Portuguese has gone out of his way to leave the club as he exploded during his first stint, between 2003 and 2009.
The death of one of his newborn twins in April also deeply affected the player, who did not resume training with his club or participate in the pre-season tour this summer, citing his “family problems”.
– World Cup as a show –
At the same time his agent, Jorge Mendes, was touring Europe offering his services, and if names like Bayern, Chelsea, Napoli or Sporting Portugal in Lisbon, his coaching club, were mentioned rather seriously, the only concrete offer came from Kingdom Saudi Arabia.
It also seems difficult to imagine it otherwise between now and the opening of the winter transfer window on January 1, especially with the very public and dangerous manner in which Ronaldo attacked a club that had extended his hand in the summer of 2021 after his departure. Juventus Turin, at a time when not many people wanted it.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who says he wants to play after his 40th birthday, today displays a level of play that may still interest some clubs, but certainly not elite clubs and especially not as he puts his egos to shame. aside.
Sporting remains a destination with an attractive side, by ‘closing the loop’, and the name Chelsea returns sometimes shyly, as new American owners can be drawn in by its ‘marketability’ aura.
The third path will send him to the American MLS, where Inter Miami dreams of bringing him, as well as Lionel Messi.
The final unknown is how this announcement will affect the player in the 2022 World Cup.
Always essential in selection, despite Portugal’s wealth of attacking talent, his performances in Qatar will be his best chance to impress potential future bosses.
“I’m in great shape,” he confirmed Monday, before adding that his incendiary interview episode can “shake the player but not the team.” And what remains to be confirmed on Thursday against Ghana, for its entry into the Portuguese selection contest in Group H.