Erik ten Hag has told Manchester United bosses that Cristiano Ronaldo should not play for the club again, sources have told ESPN.
Ten Hag held a meeting with co-chairman Joel Glazer, chief executive Richard Arnold and football director John Murtough on Monday to discuss the fallout from Ronaldo’s explosive interview with Piers Morgan.
Ten Hag, who is not in Manchester but delayed the start of a family holiday to deal with the issue, believes Ronaldo has gone too far in his criticism of the club and the revelation that he “doesn’t respect” the United boss.
United found out about the interview in the hours after the dramatic 2-1 over Fulham on Sunday, sources have told ESPN, and are now taking legal advice about how best to deal with the situation.
Ronaldo has a contract worth more than £500,000-a-week until the end of the season, but there is a feeling at Old Trafford that it will be almost impossible to reintegrate the 37-year-old into the squad after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Sources have told ESPN a number of senior players are furious at the timing of the striker’s outburst with parts of the interview first made public just hours after teenager Alejandro Garnacho had scored a stoppage-time winner against Fulham.
Ronaldo has already been disciplined twice by Ten Hag this season.
He was first reprimanded in July for leaving early during a preseason friendly with Rayo Vallecano, and he was sanctioned again in October after his refusal to come on as a substitute against Tottenham Hotspur. Ronaldo was ordered to train alone and was suspended for the 1-1 draw at Chelsea.
Sources have told ESPN that Ten Hag is still of the opinion that a fit and motivated Ronaldo can help his team during the second half of the season when United hope to be challenging in four competitions.
But he has told club bosses that he is not willing to sacrifice unity within the squad to accommodate the Portugal international and is prepared to see him leave even if a replacement cannot be secured in the January transfer window.