Manchester United say they have “initiated appropriate steps” following Cristiano Ronaldo‘s explosive, unsanctioned interview, with sources telling ESPN they are seeking to terminate his deal as well as potentially suing for breach of contract.
United have waited until the full extent of Ronaldo’s comments were made public before deciding on their response, and after the final part of the interview with Piers Morgan was aired on Thursday in the UK, the club, according to sources, are seeking to end the 37-year-old’s contract, which runs until June. Sources added that United have appointed lawyers to explore the possibility of suing Ronaldo for breach of contract..
In a meeting on Monday, manager Erik ten Hag told club bosses including co-chairman Joel Glazer, chief executive Richard Arnold and football director John Murtough that he does not want Ronaldo back after the World Cup, and the Portugal international will be informed he is not welcome back at United’s Carrington training base after the tournament in Qatar.
A club statement issued by United on Friday read: “Manchester United has this morning initiated appropriate steps in response to Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent media interview. We will not be making further comment until this process reaches its conclusion.”
Sources have told ESPN that United have been taking legal advice since Monday morning after parts of Ronaldo’s interview with Morgan on TalkTV were leaked on Sunday.
Ronaldo has infuriated the club by claiming they have made “zero progress” since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 while also saying he “doesn’t respect” Ten Hag.
He also claimed Ten Hag provoked him into refusing to appear as a substitute against Tottenham Hotspurin October, leading to his suspension for the 1-1 draw at Chelsea.
Ronaldo has been training with Portugal in Lisbon and is due to arrive in Qatar with the rest of the squad at 11 p.m. local time on Friday. Portugal kick off their World Cup campaign against Ghana on Nov. 24.
Sources have told ESPN that United are hoping to conclude their action against Ronaldo “as swiftly as possible.”
World Cup organisers have banned the sale of alcohol around stadiums in Qatar after last-minute showdown talks, FIFA announced on Friday.
First reported by British newspaper The Times, FIFA and Qatari organisers were engaged in late negotiations over whether beer would be sold at the stadiums during the tournament, which begins on Sunday.
FIFA said in a statement: “Following discussions between host country authorities and FIFA, a decision has been made to focus the sale of alcoholic beverages on the FIFA Fan Festival, other fan destinations and licensed venues, removing the sales points of beer from Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 stadium perimeters.”
While supporters can purchase alcohol at the official fan zones during the competition, the sale of beer at the matches themselves has been a controversial topic.
It appeared an agreement was originally struck to allow FIFA to permit sponsors Budweiser to sell beer at the stadiums. This was then further clarified in the buildup to the tournament after The New York Times first reported that the beer tents would be less visible at the grounds on request of the hosts.
But it emerged there was late pressure on FIFA to halt sales of alcohol at the stadiums themselves, two days before hosts Qatar kick off the tournament on Sunday against Ecuador.
“There is no impact to the sale of Bud Zero which will remain available at all Qatar’s World Cup stadiums,” FIFA added.
“Host country authorities and FIFA will continue to ensure that the stadiums and surrounding areas provide an enjoyable, respectful and pleasant experience for all fans.
“The tournament organisers appreciate AB InBev’s understanding and continuous support to our joint commitment to cater for everyone during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
The World Cup was awarded to Qatar back in 2010, but despite the competition starting in two days, the situation around the sale of beer is just one of several last-minute adjustments and teething problems occurring in Qatar.
Building work is ongoing around the various fan parks, transport hubs and stadiums. Meanwhile, some of the temporary fan accommodation has also come in for heavy criticism.
There are more luxurious options available, such as the ships docked in Doha. At the Old Port, there are already two, vast passenger ships waiting for fans to board, with a third expected to arrive on Friday. The port has also undergone reconstruction to provide restaurants and shops to those staying there, but on Thursday there was still last-minute building work being undertaken.
The same goes for the metro hubs and stadiums, where the buildings and grounds are ready to host but the areas around the facilities are still being finished off.