United plot Ronaldo exit with Mendes

By Joe Bernstein



dmg media (UK)


World Cup 2022

MANCHESTER United’s strong relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes looks key to the player leaving Old Trafford before the end of the World Cup. United want Ronaldo out after his extraordinary TV interview with Piers Morgan in which he claimed he’d been ‘betrayed’ by the club. They don’t blame Mendes for the controversial statements made by his star client and hope that pragmatism will cement a deal to cancel the player’s contract by mutual consent rather than the alternative of United firing the Portuguese for breach of contract. Mendes represents several other Premier League players including Joao Cancelo and Ruben Neves, and has previously brought stars like Nani and Angel di Maria to Old Trafford. United anticipate dealing with Mendes again in the future so don’t see any benefit for either party to end up in a legal battle over Ronaldo. The 37-year-old is expected to be involved for Portugal against Ghana in their World Cup opener on Thursday. Though Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva yesterday insisted their captain’s bombshell statement wasn’t a distraction, he stressed Portugal aren’t a oneman team, underlined by defeating Nigeria 4-0 in their final warm-up match last week without Ronaldo. ‘This is a different generation. Nearly all the players have changed in the last eight years and they play in the best leagues for the best clubs,’ said Bernardo. ‘When Cristiano is not there, the national team has known how to respond. We are 26 (players) and it doesn’t matter if there’s one or the other. We’ve shown that not only in the last game but also in qualification. I see him motivated and focused on our selection like all of us.’ Bruno Fernandes has denied his relationship with Ronaldo is frosty despite his team-mate saying he didn’t respect United manager boss Erik ten Hag. Bernardo was confident any potential club issues would be put to one side for the national good. ‘We are with the national team, focused on our games,’ he added. ‘I don’t see any strange environment.’