Piers Morgan may not have started the tale of Cristiano Ronaldo’s bitter exit from Manchester United – but he’s certainly helped to finish it.
The divisive journalist took great pleasure in giving Ronaldo a platform to air his dirty laundry on his Talk TV show in a bombshell interview aired in two parts last week. Man Utd have now formally cut ties with Ronaldo off the back of the explosive revelations, terminating his contract by mutual consent.
Ultimately it is what Ronaldo and United both wanted, as the curtain comes down on the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s second, and likely final, spell at Old Trafford. It didn’t take long for Morgan to give his two cents on the news, taking to Twitter in the minutes immediately after United had issued their statement.
He put simply: “The End.”
Ronaldo had issued a statement of his own, which read: “Following conversations with Manchester United we have mutually agreed to end our contract early. I love Manchester United and i love the fans, that will never ever change.
“However, it feels like the right time for me to seek a new challenge. I wish the team every success for the remainder of the season and for the future.”
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Morgan revealed that it was Ronaldo who had approached him to arrange the interview after becoming frustrated at his situation at United. Despite finishing last season as United’s top goalscorer, this campaign under new boss Erik ten Hag has seen Ronaldo embroiled in controversy.
He initially returned back to pre-season late after getting permission from United to do so as his daughter was unwell. Ronaldo claimed in his interview that some United chiefs didn’t believe him, despite him going through immense personal trauma when his baby son died during childbirth earlier this year.
Ronaldo irked Ten Hag after his first game back, a friendly draw with Real Sociedad where he was among eight players to leave Old Trafford early without their manager’s say so. Naturally it was Ronaldo who hit the headlines, but things didn’t improve from there.
The relationship between Ronaldo and Ten Hag continued to sour and reached breaking point when the forward refused to come on for the final three minutes of the win over Tottenham, instead storming down the tunnel and out of the stadium before the final whistle.
Piers Morgan Uncensored)
Ronaldo admitted in his interview it was an incident he regretted, while Ten Hag responded by suspending him from the next fixture against Chelsea. The Dutch coach appeared to offer an olive branch, making Ronaldo captain, but the 37-year-old missed United’s last match vs Fulham after complaining he was unwell.
Initial clips from his interview with Morgan then broke as United’s players were making their way home from Craven Cottage, where they’d secured a crucial victory without Ronaldo’s services. United then sought legal advice and begun the process of terminating his contract, leaving Ronaldo without a club as he prepares to participate in the World Cup with Portugal.
Morgan himself has come under fire for his role in the saga, having previously interviewed Ronaldo for his ‘Life Stories’ series on ITV and subsequently developing a firm friendship with the superstar. TalkSport pundit Simon Jordan accused Morgan of failing to challenge Ronaldo and making it too “comfortable” for his friend, branding it “sport’s version of Oprah with Harry and Meghan”.
In defence, Morgan replied: “I did challenge him. I got him to admit he shouldn’t have done what he did at Tottenham. I got him to make other admissions, too… He was setting the record straight about stuff he felt was misleading and untrue in the media.”