Gary Neville insists it “didn’t need to end” like this as he calls on Man Utd to “terminate” Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract at the club.
The Portugal international was critical of the club and manager Erik ten Hag in an explosive interview with Piers Morgan with snippets revealed all week.
After recent criticism from Neville and Wayne Rooney, Ronaldo said his two former Man Utd team-mates were “not my friends”.
And Neville can’t see a way back for Ronaldo at the club with the former Man Utd right-back suspecting that the striker doesn’t want it any other way.
“No, and l don’t think he wants a way back,” Neville told Sky Sports. “He wouldn’t have done this interview if he wanted a way back. He knew it would bring the headlines it has and be the end of his Manchester United career.”
Man Utd released a statement that said the club “will consider its response after the full facts have been established” but Neville has urged them to act soon.
“I’m wondering what Man Utd are doing because the reality of it is they know they have to terminate Cristiano’s contract or they basically open up a precedent so any player can criticise them in the future,” Neville added.
“I agree with some of the things Cristiano has said and many Man Utd fans will agree with many things Cristiano has said but the reality is if you’re an employee within a business and say those things your employment has to terminate and Man Utd have to do that in the next few days.
“Cristiano probably wants that as well but it didn’t need to end like that. They could have come together a couple of weeks ago and navigated a pathway through what could have potentially been choppy seas to the shore but it’s not happened, they’ve both basically backed themselves into a corner.”
Man Utd legend Neville is frustrated at how Ronaldo’s time at Old Trafford has ended and insists “exits don’t have to happen this way”.
Neville continued: “There was probably another way to do it but that was from the club’s side and Cristiano’s side.
“When I had that debate in the studio after the Chelsea game three or four weeks ago with Roy Keane, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Dave Jones, I urged Man Utd and Cristiano to come together that week because it was obvious the relationship was failing or had failed and to navigate a pathway to January or the World Cup where they created a truce. Exits don’t have to happen this way if both sides are proactive and mature. I’m disappointed that meeting doesn’t seem to have happened.
“Cristiano hasn’t been controlled or managed, it doesn’t look like he’s reached out to the club and opened communication lines. We’ve ended up with this quite unsavoury situation whereby it looks like Cristiano is going to end this period of his reign at Man Utd in not a great a feeling as it should be.
“He’s one of the greatest players ever to play the game in the world and certainly one of Man Utd’s greatest ever players.
“As a fan it doesn’t feel right that someone I played with needs to leave the club in this way, or the club need to end it this way.”