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Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo given just 81-word tribute in Man Utd programme after controversial exit as free agent

2:35 AM EST 12/22/22
Cristiano Ronaldo Manchester United 2022-23
Manchester United dedicated just 81 words of their first programme since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to the legendary Portuguese forward.
  • Portuguese forward released as free agent
  • Took in two spells at Old Trafford
  • Mulling over his next move

WHAT HAPPENED? The five-time Ballon d’Or winner saw his contract at Old Trafford terminated on November 22, with an explosive interview in which he took aim at prominent figures from the club’s past and present resulting in free agency being hit. Ronaldo was on 2022 World Cup duty with Portugal at that time, but the Red Devils were back in competitive action on Wednesday when facing Burnley in the Carabao Cup fourth round and had the opportunity to deliver a fitting tribute to the 37-year-old and his efforts across two spells in England.

WHAT THEY SAID: United passed up that opportunity, with the only mention of the all-time great in their matchday programme reading: "Cristiano Ronaldo left the club by mutual agreement last month. The Portuguese superstar scored 145 goals across two spells and 436 appearances, and helped us win three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, two League Cups, the Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup. Ronaldo was also crowned Ballon d'Or winner in 2008. In a statement on November 22, the club put on record its gratitude for Cristiano's immense contribution and wished him and his family well for the future."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Those words were posted in the “Worth Knowing” feature which was spread across pages six and seven of United Review, with Erik Ten Hag going no deeper at his post-match press conference when he said of Ronaldo: "I gave you all the opportunity, many of you were in Spain. We made the statement, we look to the future."

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT? Ronaldo is now in the process of mulling over where his next move will take him, with a player that has spent plenty of time on the bench for club and country in 2022-23 reported to have a lucrative offer from Saudi Arabia on the table as he waits on teams from Europe to make a play for his signature.