United announced on Tuesday night that they had released Ronaldo early from his contract following his explosive interview with Piers Morgan. The 37-year-old was under contract until the end of the season but is now a free agent.
Ronaldo is currently away with Portugal at the World Cup and will feature in their opening match of the tournament against Ghana on Thursday. However, in a statement, he said “it feels like the right time for me to seek a new challenge”.
Ferdinand played alongside Ronaldo during his first spell at United and was on hand to reflect on the news following Mexico’s 0-0 draw with Poland. “I think both parties will be delighted now,” he said on BBC ’s coverage of the game. “He obviously did that interview with the mindset that he wanted to get out of the football club.
“[He] wasn’t happy, made it very clear, but I also think Erik ten Hag has got what he wanted as well in this situation. Both parties are happy, move on, next chapter for Cristiano Ronaldo.”
Asked where Ronaldo might go next, Ferdinand responded: “I don’t know. We were talking about it here, I think it depends what the motivation is. Is it Champions League, money? Is it just to continue playing somewhere with a nice climate?
HAVE YOUR SAY! Where will Cristiano Ronaldo go next? Comment below.
“This will be going on behind the scenes but we’ll find out I’m sure in due course.”
Ronaldo told Morgan he felt “betrayed” by United after he was denied a transfer away from the club in the summer transfer window. His relationship with manager Erik ten Hag broke down after he refused to come off the bench in the final stages of a match against Tottenham.
Nevertheless, his parting statement took a very different tone to his explosive interview earlier in November. “Following conversations with Manchester United we have mutually agreed to end our contract early,” it read.
“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.”
United’s statement read: “Cristiano Ronaldo is to leave Manchester United by mutual agreement, with immediate effect.
“The club thanks him for his immense contribution across two spells at Old Trafford, scoring 145 goals in 346 appearances, and wishes him and his family well for the future.
“Everyone at Manchester United remains focused on continuing the team’s progress under Erik ten Hag and working together to deliver success on the pitch.”