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Could Man Utd sack Cristiano Ronaldo?

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It’s the bombshell interview that everybody is talking about. Cristiano Ronaldo, Piers Morgan and sensational sound bites that would suggest the 37-year-old’s career at Manchester United is all but over.

Ronaldo teased that this moment was coming; that he’d have his say on everything that has happened at United over the past six months amid widespread criticism from the media, his manager and former teammates over his behaviour at Old Trafford.

The long and short of it is that Ronaldo feels like he’s completely disrespected by those who should have stood by and supported him, and is not willing to stay silent ahead of a fifth appearance at the World Cup with Portugal.

It begs the question, has Ronaldo gone too far and should he be fearful of the disciplinary action United could take? Could the club even dismiss him for a breach of contract?

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What did Cristiano Ronaldo say?

Ronaldo has spent a lot of time on United’s bench / IAN HODGSON/GettyImages

Ronaldo on Man Utd’s ‘betrayal’

“Yes. Not only the coach, but the other two or three guys around the club. I felt betrayed.

“Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t care. People should hear the truth. Yes, I feel betrayed. Some people don’t want me here not only this year, but last year too.”

Ronaldo on nothing changing at Man Utd

“I don’t know what’s going on. Since Sir Alex Ferguson left I have seen not evolution in the club. The progress was zero. They stopped in time. I thought I would see different things, different technology, infrastructure, but unfortunately we see many things that I saw when I was 20, 21.

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“For example, an interesting point is how a club like Manchester United sacked Ole (Gunnar Solskjaer), they bring in a sporting director Ralf Rangnick which is something nobody understands. This guy is not even a coach! A big club like Manchester United bringing in a sporting director surprised not only me but all the world.

“Nothing changes. Not only the jacuzzi, the pool, even the gym. Even some points of technology, the kitchen, the chefs – who I appreciate, lovely people! They stop in time which surprised me a lot.

“I thought I would see different things, technology, infrastructure. Unfortunately, we see many things I’m used to seeing when I’m 21, 22, 23. It surprised me a lot.”

Ronaldo on not respecting Erik ten Hag

“I don’t have respect for him because he doesn’t show respect for me. If you don’t have respect for me, I’m never gonna have respect for you.”

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Ronaldo on his ‘love’ for Man Utd

“I think the fans should know the truth,” the Portugal international added. “I want the best for the club. This is why I come to Manchester United.

“But you have some things inside that don’t help [us] reach the top level as City, Liverpool and even now Arsenal…a club with this dimension should be top of the tree in my opinion and they are not unfortunately.

“As Picasso said, you have to destroy it to rebuild it [the artist’s exact quote was: ‘Every act of creation is first an act of destruction’] and if they start with me, for me, it’s not a problem.

“I love Manchester United, I love the fans, they’re always on my side. But if they want to do it different… they have to change many, many things.”

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Man Utd’s reaction to Ronaldo

90min understands that United are unsurprisingly furious with Ronaldo’s actions, and feel ‘blind-sided’ by his decision to speak out now.

The Red Devils have also been taken aback by Ronaldo’s criticism of Ten Hag, as they felt the pair were on ‘decent’ terms despite his infamous walk down the tunnel against Tottenham and the many faces of anguish he’s pulled on the bench this season.

So what can United realistically do about the situation? Can they take the ultimate action against Ronaldo?

Could Man Utd sack Cristano Ronaldo?

Cristiano Ronaldo

Leading sports lawyer and partner at Leathes Prior, Dan Chapman, told 90min:

“Ronaldo’s interview is very unusual – for an existing, contracted player to carry out his own interview goes against the norms of the contractual relationship between players and their clubs, but also the media policies that will almost certainly be in place at Manchester United. One sees interviews like this from players after they leave a club, but rarely whilst they remain employed by a club. 

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“While one may think that Ronaldo ought to be entitled to freely express his opinions, he remains a current employer of Manchester United and is subject to the terms of his contract of employment.  The contract that all Premier League players enter in to is largely standard form, which means that we are aware of some of the provisions which Ronaldo is almost certainly subject to. For example, he should not write or say anything which he knows (or ought to know) would bring Manchester United into disrepute or cause damage to it,  and where he is interviewed (as was the case here), whether or not such interview breaches the club’s media policies,  he has a duty to ensure his responses are made in a responsible manner and with the club’s reputation in mind.

“It seems to me that it is quite likely Ronaldo’s actions, both in terms of giving the interview and the comments he has made, will amount to a breach of his employment contract.  This would entitle Manchester United to take disciplinary action against him, if they wanted to do so, and the most serious outcome would be that his contract could be terminated if after following the appropriate disciplinary process it was held that his actions amounted to gross misconduct.  Such a conclusion is certainly theoretically possible, because the player’s contracts define gross misconduct as including a very serious breach of the terms of the employment contract, which this could be. 

“In reality, we rarely see clubs dismissing elite players for gross misconduct because it is often less risky (and commercially more viable) to simply negotiate an exit for the player at the first available opportunity.  It may be that Ronaldo is aware of this and is seeking an exit in January and that he felt he had very little to lose – in short, this may be one of those cases where the employee is relatively relaxed about the prospect of being dismissed. Ronaldo will have a team of advisors and it is hard to imagine that he and they were not fully aware of the potential consequences of this interview.”

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EPL

Al-Nassr offer Cristiano Ronaldo record-breaking contract

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Al-Nassr have offered Cristiano Ronaldo a contract that could make him the highest paid footballer in history, according to report.

The 37-year-old sensationally left Manchester United by mutual agreement earlier this month after he criticised the club’s players, manager and hierarchy in an explosive interview with Piers Morgan.

Ronaldo, who is currently away at the World Cup with Portugal, has been targeted by clubs in Saudi Arabia before, and turned down the opportunity to join Al-Hilal in the summer despite being offered over £300m to do so.

90min previously revealed that Al-Hilal were preparing a fresh offer for Ronaldo, but it’s believed they have turned their attention to Lionel Messi and other priorities – paving the way for Al-Nassr to try and engineer a move of their own.

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Ronaldo’s current intention is to remain in Europe, where he can continue to compete in the Champions League, but sources have confirmed to 90min that Al-Nassr have put forward a blockbuster contract offer to take him to Saudi Arabia.

Al-Nassr’s offer is believed to be a three-year deal worth close to £250m a year once add-ons, incentives and bonuses are factored in – eclipsing the huge contract Kylian Mbappe penned earlier this summer to remain at Paris Saint-Germain.

Ronaldo is yet to respond to Al-Nassr’s proposal, but his desire to continue competing at the highest level was made clear in the interview he conducted with Morgan.

Newcastle United, owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, and Chelsea are two Premier League teams to have previously been linked with Ronaldo.

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Marcus Rashford pays tribute to late friend with goal celebration

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Marcus Rashford has revealed that his celebration following his first goal against Wales was a tribute to a friend who’d recently passed away.

The Man Utd man was in electric form for the Three Lions on Tuesday evening, scoring a brace and catapulting himself to the top of the tournament goalscoring charts in the process. In scoring his second and third goal in Qatar, Rahsford became the first Man Utd player to score three goals at a World Cup for England since Sir Bobby Charlton achieved the feat way back in 1966.

Speaking after the game to the press, Rashford revealed that he pointed to the sky following his first goal in order to pay tribute to his friend who passed away following a long battle with cancer:

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“I lost one of my friends a couple of days ago. He had quite a long battle with cancer. I’m pleased I scored for him, he was a big supporter and good friend of mine. He was someone who came into my life.”

Rashford also gave an assessment of the game itself and his overall performance stating: “I fancied a free-kick in the first half, but the one in the second half was in a better position. From there it’s about being calm and executing what you do in training. They don’t go in often but I was glad it did today.

“It’s a great feeling. We were a bit disappointed after the USA game, and the only way to bounce back is to have a good performance in your next game; I thought we did it. It was just about taking the chances when they came.”

Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders and Toby Cudworth to look back on South Korea/Japan ’02 as part of the ‘Our World Cup’ series. We take a trip down memory lane – join us!

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If you can’t see the podcast embed, click to download or listen to the episode in full!



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Tottenham ask Inter about availability of key player

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Tottenham Hotspur have made enquiries to Inter over right wing-back Denzel Dumfries, 90min understands.

Spurs are on the hunt for reinforcements at wing-back, with 90min previously reporting that one of Emerson Royal and Matt Doherty could be sold in January, while a loan move for Djed Spence looks likely.

On their list of targets is Dumfries, who is currently at the World Cup with the Netherlands. Inter need to sell one star player by the end of the season to help ease their financial woes.

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It was previously thought that Milan Skriniar would be the man to make way, but he will either sign a new contract or leave for free when his current deal expires at the end of the season.

Instead, Inter will look to sell Dumfries in January and loan him back for the rest of the season, though Spurs would push to take him off their hands straight away.

Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey in the latest episode of Talking Transfers, discussing Cristiano Ronaldo’s interview and his future, Man Utd’s interest in Cody Gakpo, plus the latest on Endrick and Rafael Leao. Available on all audio platforms.

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download the episode in full!

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In addition to Tottenham, Chelsea are also interested in the Dutchman, and this could drive Dumfries’ price up.

Dumfries signed for Inter in 2021 as a replacement for the outgoing Achraf Hakimi, whose sale partly contributed to the exit of current Spurs head coach Antonio Conte.

He scored five goals from wing-back in his debut season at San Siro and has found the net twice more this term.





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