Ghana coach Otto Addo fumed at the decision to award Portugal a penalty in their thrilling win over the Black Stars on Thursday, declaring: "I don't know if the VAR wasn't paying attention".

Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to net at five editions of the World Cup when he opened the scoring from the spot at Stadium 974, as Portugal eventually ran out 3-2 winners.

Ghana, however, were incensed by referee Ismail Elfath's decision to award the spot-kick, believing Mohammed Salisu won the ball with his challenge on the five-time Ballon d'Or-winner.

Addo hit out at Elfath's performance and revealed he was denied the chance to speak to him after Ghana's defeat.

Asked whether Ronaldo benefitted from a favourable decision, Addo said: "I think you'd have to ask the referee. I have no proof of that, but we were playing the ball, then there was a contact.

"I don't know what they were doing, I don't know whether the VAR wasn't paying attention.

"If I look at that moment, it's incredible. If you look at a replay, we played the ball. It was actually a foul against us.

"The game was hectic, we made a few mistakes to allow the second and third goals, opening the lines for them to pass it. It was a little bit unlucky.

"With a bit of luck, we could have got one point. The referee was not in our favour. In my view, our yellow cards were deserved, but for me, holding jerseys is also a yellow card. I don't know what was wrong, but he was really not in our favour.

"I asked some people from FIFA if I could talk briefly to the referee in a calm and quiet way, but they said he is in a meeting and it's not possible. 

"I think they have match analysis, so it's the truth, but surely you can have some minutes for the coach."

Ghana full-back Tariq Lamptey was also asked about the decision, responding: "I think you saw it. You can give your opinion."

The African nation have now lost their opening match on three of their four participations at the World Cup (W1), but Lamptey believes there were plenty of positives to take.

"Obviously, I would have liked to get the win," Lamptey said. "They have a lot of world-class players in their team, but we felt like we could have got the result we deserved, and we were so close to getting that.

"We know we played well, but it's a difficult one as we know we could have got something. We'll put that energy into our next game and give it our best."

Cristiano Ronaldo stated his club future "does not matter" after a "beautiful moment" which saw him set a World Cup record.

The 37-year-old tucked home from the penalty spot in the second half against Ghana to open the scoring for Portugal in a 3-2 victory, becoming the first player to score in five different World Cup tournaments.

Ronaldo's goal comes on the back of a week when he has dominated the headlines, conducting an interview with Piers Morgan that sent shockwaves across the world of football due to his immense criticism of Manchester United, with it then announced on Tuesday that a mutual termination of his contract was agreed.

That puts Ronaldo in the market as he stars in the World Cup but, while questions regarding his future will continue to orientate, he remains firmly focused on performing for his nation.

"It was a beautiful moment, my fifth World Cup. We won, we started with a good foot, it's a very important win," he told a post-match press conference.

"We know that in these competitions the first match is crucial, but also the record to be the first player to score in five World Cups, it's something that makes me very proud and I'm very happy that the team got a result in a tough game.

"The most important step was that we won, it was a week that finished a chapter, it's closed, and now we want to start off with a good foot.

"We won, I could help my team and all the rest does not matter."

Ronaldo earned the praise of head coach Fernando Santos, who believes the forward will remain a topic of conversation among football fans for many decades ahead.

"He's one of the best players in the world, there's no doubt about that, one of the best players ever," he said.

"Cristiano is a phenomenon, a legend, like many others who have come and gone in football. In 50 years time, we will continue to talk about him."

Portugal can secure their spot in the round of 16 with victory against Uruguay on Monday, with their group stage concluding against South Korea four days later.

Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to score in five World Cups, but Portugal required a couple of late goals to rescue a nervy 3-2 win against Ghana on Thursday.

Just two days after having his Manchester United contract terminated by mutual consent, free agent Ronaldo converted a penalty to break down a stubborn Ghana side in their Group H opener. 

Ghana were furious with the awarding of the 65th-minute spot-kick for Mohammed Salisu's challenge on Ronaldo, but they hit back through Andre Ayew in the 73rd minute.

However, Joao Felix fired Portugal back in front and substitute Rafael Leao added a third, which proved important when Osman Bukari scored a late consolation for Ghana, who missed a glorious chance to snatch a point through Inaki Williams.

 

Ronaldo was denied by Lawrence Ati-Zigi after a heavy first touch and headed wide from the best of Portugal's limited first-half chances, before having a goal ruled out for a foul.

Alidu Seidu was lucky to only be shown a yellow early in the second half after locking heads with Joao Felix, but Ghana were less fortunate when a penalty was given to Portugal

Salisu was penalised for his challenge on Ronaldo, despite appearing to touch the ball before the player, and the superstar forward made no mistake from the spot.

That sparked some life into Ghana and Ayew steered home a leveller after Mohammed Kudus pulled the ball back into his path, but Portugal's own response was equally as swift.

Joao Felix raced onto Bruno Fernandes' throughball and dinked over Ati-Zigi, before Leao – on the field for just 45 seconds – curled in a delightful third for Fernando Santos' side.

Bukari, himself introduced from the bench, headed in from a Baba Rahman cross to set up a tense finish and Williams almost snuck an equaliser when he took the ball off the feet of an oblivious Costa before slipping at the crucial moment. 

Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first ever player to score in five different World Cups after finding the net for Portugal against Ghana on Thursday.

The 37-year-old, who is currently without a club after mutually parting ways with Manchester United on Tuesday, converted a second-half penalty to give Portugal the lead.

That was Ronaldo's eighth World Cup goal, each of those coming in the group stage – the most of any player yet to score in the knockout stages. 

Pele, Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose have all netted at four World Cups, but Ronaldo is now out in front in that regard after scoring at a fifth finals.

Here, Stats Perform looks at each of Ronaldo's previous seven goals on the biggest stage of them all, three of which came in one game.

 


Portugal 2-0 Iran (Frankfurt, 2006)

Ronaldo scored from the penalty spot for the first of his World Cup goals against Iran in 2006, making him Portugal's youngest ever scorer in the competition at 21 years and 132 days, a record that stands to this day. Despite Portugal finishing third that year, a teenage Ronaldo did not add to his goals tally.

Portugal 7-0 North Korea (Cape Town, 2010)

The Selecao put seven goals past North Korea, with Ronaldo scoring the sixth of those to end a two-year wait for an international goal. Portugal failed to find the net in any of their other three matches in South Africa and were eliminated by Spain in the last 16.

Portugal 2-1 Ghana (Brasilia, 2014)

Ronaldo scored a late winner in Portugal's final group match against Ghana – a simple finish following some poor defending – but it was not enough to prevent his side from exiting Brazil 2014 in the first round behind the United States and tournament winners Germany.

Portugal 3-3 Spain (Sochi, 2018)

Entering the tournament as the world's best player, Ronaldo lived up to his billing by scoring a hat-trick in what will go down as one of the all-time great individual World Cup performances. After opening the scoring from the penalty spot, the superstar forward beat David de Gea with a shot from outside the box and then scored a late free-kick to rescue a point in a topsy-turvy thriller.

Portugal 1-0 Morocco (Moscow, 2018)

Ronaldo was not finished there, either, as he made it four goals for the tournament with an unstoppable header inside four minutes against Morocco, with that proving to be the winner. However, his goalscoring touch eluded him in the knockout rounds as he fired a blank in the 2-1 loss to Uruguay in the last 16.

Cristiano Ronaldo was named in Portugal's starting XI for their World Cup opener against Ghana at Stadium 974 in Doha.

After his inflammatory interview with Piers Morgan, Ronaldo left Manchester United by mutual agreement on Tuesday.

That means the 37-year-old is a free agent, and if he needs to remind anyone of his qualities ahead of the January transfer window, he has the chance to do so in Qatar.

Fernando Santos saw no issue in bringing Ronaldo into his team for Portugal's first Group F game on Thursday, with the striker spearheading an attack that also included Porto winger Otavio and Atletico Madrid's Joao Felix.

Ronaldo is aiming to become the first player to score at five different World Cups.

In an attacking-looking XI, Ruben Neves took up a holding midfield role, behind Bernardo Silva and Ronaldo's now ex-United club-mate, Bruno Fernandes.

Veteran campaigner Pepe was left on the bench, with Danilo preferred as Ruben Dias' partner, while Joao Cancelo and Raphael Guerreiro completed the defence ahead of goalkeeper Diogo Costa.

Having switched allegiance from Spain, Inaki Williams led the line for Ghana, with Arsenal's Thomas Partey anchoring a four-man midfield that also included Andre Ayew and Mohammed Kudus, who has impressed for Ajax this season and has this week compared himself to Brazil star Neymar.

Ghana captain Ayew will have appeared in more World Cup matches (eight) than any current player for African nations once the game kicks off.

Manchester United will look to sign a replacement forward for Cristiano Ronaldo during the January transfer window, according to the Manchester Evening News.

The 37-year-old Portuguese's exit by mutual consent with immediate effect has opened up all sorts of possibilities for the Red Devils.

But Erik ten Hag's side clearly need to bolster their ranks as they look to finish in the Premier League's top four this term.

 

TOP STORY – MEMPHIS WALKING BACK THROUGH THE DOORS AT OLD TRAFFORD?

Spanish media outlet Sport claims that Manchester United are keen on Barcelona's Memphis Depay in January.

The Blaugrana, who have been linked with United's Diogo Dalot, are eager to offload the Dutchman, whose contract ends in mid-2023.

The Netherlands international spent two years at Old Trafford from 2015 and 2017

 

ROUND-UP -

- Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal are ready to make moves for Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot, according to Calciomercato. The Frenchman almost joined Manchester United in the off-season and is contracted with the Bianconeri until the end of the season.

- Football Insider claims Aston Villa are interested in Sevilla's Morocco international goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, who is contracted until 2025.

- Fabrizio Romano claims RB Leipzig's Konrad Laimer is determined to join Bayern Munich, meaning Chelsea and Liverpool will miss out on the Austrian.

- Leeds United have enquired about the availability of Milan's Belgian midfielder Charles de Ketelaere, reports TeamTalk.

- Atalanta are in talks with Stuttgart's Croatia international left-back Borna Sosa, claims Nicolo Schira.

Portugal will not be distracted by the furore surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo as they look to get their World Cup campaign up and running, says Ruben Dias.

Ronaldo's inflammatory interview with Piers Morgan has been the hot topic ahead of Portugal's opening Group H match in Qatar against Ghana on Thursday at Stadium 974.

Portugal's captain insisted no issues have been caused in the squad, despite what seemed a frosty exchange with his now ex-Manchester United team-mate Bruno Fernandes on the latter's arrival to the team's training camp. 

Centre-back Dias, however, shrugged off any chance of Ronaldo's situation proving to be a distraction.

"I don't think Cristiano's affairs have put a dent whatsoever into what we are trying to achieve here, so I don't have much to say about it," Dias said in a press conference on Tuesday.

"I think we've talked about this enough, there's not much to add. As a team we will focus on the World Cup now and not other issues.

"We're focused on winning against Ghana. The best way to win is focus on one game at a time and that's the best way to have a successful path ahead of us."

Progressing from Group H will not be a simple task for Portugal.

Uruguay and South Korea are the other teams in the group, while Ghana head into their fourth World Cup with a talented squad, albeit one that is the youngest in the tournament.

Inaki Williams, who has switched allegiance from Spain, is a threat up top, with Mohammed Kudus and Thomas Partey enjoying fine seasons with Ajax and Arsenal respectively.

Indeed, since the start of detailed Opta World Cup data, Ghana have averaged the most shots per game in the World Cup among all teams competing in 2022 (19).

"Ghana are physically a strong team, technically as well. They have footballers who are playing at the top level in Europe," added Dias.

"We are aware we are facing a very dangerous team. We’re focused on what we are doing, but aware of the difficulties that Ghana will bring."

Portugal – Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo loves silencing his critics, and what better stage to do it? The 37-year-old is looking to become the first player to score at five different World Cup finals.

All of Ronaldo's seven goals in the tournament have come in the group stage. He has scored the most goals of any player in the competition who is yet to find the net in the knockout stages (six such appearances without a goal).

Ghana – Mohammed Kudus

Kudus revealed earlier this week that he came close to joining Everton in August, but if the 22-year-old carries his club form into the World Cup, he might well be the subject of interest from bigger teams in January.

He has scored 10 goals for Ajax this term, with four of those coming in the Champions League, from six appearances. 

With Williams ahead of him and Partey behind, Kudus could be one to watch in Qatar.

PREDICTIONS

Portugal are heavy favourites based on Opta's predictor model, which gives Fernando Santos' side a 69.6 per cent chance of victory.

Ghana, who lost 2-1 to Portugal in the 2014 World Cup, are handed an 11.9 per cent chance, with the draw at 18.5.

Cristiano Ronaldo's exit from Manchester United is like a divorce, according to former captain Roy Keane.

United announced on Tuesday that they had reached a mutual agreement with Ronaldo to terminate his contract with immediate effect, in the aftermath of a seismic interview conducted prior to the World Cup.

Ronaldo did not hold back with his array of criticisms, including ones directed towards manager Erik ten Hag, and it became apparent he was on borrowed time at Old Trafford.

A departure has now been confirmed, with Keane believing the outcome is one that suits all parties.

"I think it has been on the cards for the last few months. Obviously, the interview was the tipping point," he told ITV Sport.

"Life goes on. United are a great club, Ronaldo is a great player. It's like a divorce, the end of a relationship, we all know how that feels. Life goes on and you go your separate ways.

"He should have probably left in the summer. The new manager was never going to play him, you can't have Ronaldo as a sub or a fringe player, it's just not right. It's sad but these things happen.

"I don't think it's been great management, it's been a difficult situation, I don't feel the manager comes out well. Part of management is looking after top players, you have to treat world-class players differently.

"The manager was never going to play him, the system with the high press, Ronaldo was never going to do that, he didn't come back to do that, he came back because he's a great player who is going to score goals.

"Everyone knew he wasn't going to play, so they should have let him go in the summer before it gets messy.

"I think it's better for everyone. It's better for the club, obviously you don't want that dragging on going into the second half of the season. Ronaldo has obviously run out of patience, I think it's really straight forward.

"Is his reputation tarnished? United fans aren't daft, he will go down as one of the greatest ever players, it's not ended well, but that's life."

The big news surrounding United did not end with the Ronaldo announcement, as the club then confirmed the Glazer family would consider a sale – which comes after years of protests from the fans.

Keane welcomed the news, adding: "It's good news for United fans. In the last few years, the fans have wanted the owners out, so I'm pleased for the fans."

Cristiano Ronaldo has been suspended for two matches by the Football Association (FA) and fined £50,000 for smashing an Everton supporter's phone last season.

The Portugal international, who had his contract mutually terminated by Manchester United on Tuesday, has also been warned by the FA over his future conduct.

Ronaldo was charged by the FA in September for breaching Rule E3 after footage of the incident emerged following United's loss at Goodison Park in April.

He was also questioned by Merseyside Police in relation to an alleged assault and criminal damage and received a caution in August.

Erik ten Hag suggested last month Ronaldo would fight the FA ruling, but the governing body announced on Wednesday he has now accepted the charge

"Cristiano Ronaldo has been suspended for two matches, fined £50,000 and warned as to his future conduct for a breach of FA Rule E3," the FA's statement read.

"The forward admitted that his conduct after the final whistle of the Premier League game between Manchester United and Everton on Saturday 9 April 2022 was improper.

"An independent Regulatory Commission found that his conduct was both improper and violent during a subsequent hearing, and imposed these sanctions."

Ronaldo's ban will reportedly carry across to any new club he joins, even if it is outside of England.

Ronaldo issued an apology on Instagram at the time, stating: "It's never easy to deal with emotions in difficult moments such as the one we are facing.

"Nevertheless, we always have to be respectful, patient and set the example for all the youngsters who love the beautiful game.

"I would like to apologise for my outburst and, if possible, I would like to invite this supporter to watch a game at Old Trafford as a sign of fair play and sportsmanship."

Ronaldo's exit from United came on the back of a tell-all interview with Piers Morgan last week in which he said the club had "betrayed" him and declared he did not respect manager Erik ten Hag.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner also used the interview to attack several former United players who had criticised his conduct this season.  

Free agent Ronaldo is expected to start Portugal's opening Qatar 2022 match against Ghana on Thursday.

Bruno Fernandes described his time playing with Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United as a "dream come true" after the five-time Ballon d'Or winner left the club by mutual consent.

Ronaldo's United departure appeared inevitable after he gave a bombshell interview to Piers Morgan, in which he said the club had "betrayed" him and declared he did not respect manager Erik ten Hag.

Having committed to taking "appropriate steps" against Ronaldo, United confirmed on Tuesday they had severed ties with the forward with immediate effect.

As Fernandes prepares to team up with Ronaldo for Portugal's World Cup opener against Ghana on Thursday, the attacking midfielder said he will cherish their time spent together at Old Trafford.

Asked whether speculation concerning Ronaldo's future had affected him, Fernandes said: "I don't feel uncomfortable. I don't have to pick a side. It was a privilege, to play at the club with Cristiano was a dream. 

"Cristiano has always been an inspiration for me, so it was a dream come true to be able to play with him at the club, but we know that nothing lasts forever. 

"It was great for me and good while it lasted. Cristiano took a different decision for his life and his decision has to be respected, regardless of us agreeing or not. 

"We are players, but we're also parents, brothers, we know it might be difficult to take these decisions but they have to be for the wellness of ourselves and our families."

Fernandes also insists he has not discussed Ronaldo's next steps with him, adding: "Cristiano hasn't discussed with me, it's his decision, a personal decision and it should pertain to him and his family, that's for sure. 

"We haven't discussed the topic, we are focused on the national team, the World Cup. You know how important playing for the national team is for Cristiano. 

"That's a dream for a player, winning the World Cup, and it's a competition where every player wants to play. 

"Our focus is 100 per cent on the national team, we are aware of what we have to do. I don't believe that what he's done or decided will have any impact on the national team."

Last week, onlookers speculated that an awkward handshake between Ronaldo and Fernandes demonstrated discontent between the duo, though Joao Mario later insisted it was the result of a joke after Fernandes arrived late for Portugal's pre-tournament camp.

Fernandes repeated Joao Mario's explanation on Wednesday, adding: "It was a joke. When you take regular flights – these things happen!

"I wasn't worried about knowing his future at that moment. If it weren't for this news, something else would happen.

"When you have to talk, you talk about those who make the most noise, and Cristiano is the one who makes the most noise in the world of football."

Ghana coach Otto Addo, meanwhile, was in no mood to allow Ronaldo's United departure to overshadow his own team's World Cup preparations.

"I don't know and I honestly don't care. It's not our problem," Addo said when asked about Ronaldo. "I don't think it will be a distraction. Everyone wants to win, it's a big game, it's the World Cup."

Wayne Rooney was not surprised by Manchester United's decision to part company with Cristiano Ronaldo, saying the club had "no other choice".

Ronaldo's United departure seemed inevitable when he gave an explosive interview to Piers Morgan, saying the club had "betrayed" him and declaring he did not respect manager Erik ten Hag.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner also used the interview to attack several former United players who had criticised his conduct this season.  

Rooney labelled Ronaldo's actions an "unwanted distraction" after he was suspended by United for refusing to come on as a substitute in last month's win over Tottenham, comments the Portugal forward subsequently said were rooted in jealousy. 

On Tuesday, United announced Ronaldo had left the club by mutual agreement, a decision Rooney believes was inevitable.

Speaking to Sports 18 following the club's announcement, Rooney said: "Am I surprised? No. 

"There was no other choice, but that's a shame because he's been a fantastic servant to the club. I wish him the best wherever he goes."

Ronaldo leaves United having scored 145 goals across two spells at Old Trafford, though he only found the net once for the Red Devils in the Premier League this campaign.

Manchester City legend Vincent Kompany joked he would not sign Cristiano Ronaldo as Burnley "need players who can run".

Ronaldo is preparing for the World Cup with Portugal ahead of Thursday's Group H opener against Ghana, though the five-time Ballon d'Or winner will lreturn to club football as a free agent in January.

Manchester United and Ronaldo parted ways by mutual agreement on Tuesday after the forward's exclusive interview with Piers Morgan caused a global stir.

The Portugal captain said he felt "betrayed" by United and had no respect for manager Erik ten Hag before the fractured relationship at Old Trafford came to an abrupt end.

Kompany, now manager of Championship side Burnley, offered a tongue-in-cheek assessment of the situation, suggesting the Clarets would not be interested in signing the 37-year-old.

Asked on the BBC's World Cup coverage whether he would want Ronaldo at Turf Moor, Kompany joked: "We need players who can run."

After discussing Ronaldo's future in a jovial manner, Kompany claimed "everybody loses" after an uncomfortable situation at Old Trafford, barring Ten Hag.

"I think in the end everybody loses except perhaps the Man United manager," added Kompany, who lifted four Premier League titles with fierce rivals City.

"I think it is a problem that has been resolved and they will move on from this."

Fellow pundit and former England striker Alan Shearer believes it will be interesting to see what move Ronaldo takes next, with Chelsea reportedly among the favourites.

"It is a sad end to his Man United career," Shearer said. "He's got his wish, it is what he did the interview for. It was inevitable it was going to happen after that.

"I think it is going to be really interesting to see if a Champions League club comes in for him. Maybe Man United aren't that disappointed either, that was never going to be a match, Ten Hag and him."

Rio Ferdinand believes both Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United will be delighted after they announced they were parting ways on Tuesday.

The decision comes after Ronaldo's bombshell exclusive interview with Piers Morgan, in which he said he felt betrayed by senior figures at the club and claimed he had no respect for manager Erik ten Hag.

United responded by saying they had "initiated appropriate steps", and on Tuesday revealed the five-time Ballon d'Or winner and the club had gone separate ways by mutual agreement.

Ronaldo released a statement of his own saying it was "the right time to seek a new challenge", and Ferdinand, a United legend and former team-mate of Ronaldo, says both sides will be satisfied.

Speaking on the BBC's World Cup coverage, Ferdinand declared: "I think both parties will be delighted now.

"He obviously has done that interview with the mindset that he wanted to get out of the football club, [he] wasn't happy, [and] made it very clear.

"But I also think Erik ten Hag has got what he wanted from this situation as well. So both parties are happy."

Wayne Rooney, who himself received a swipe from Ronaldo in the interview, agreed it was time for the 37-year-old to depart Old Trafford.

"I think it's sad, sad to see one of the best players of all time, a former team-mate and friend go away," Rooney told Sports18.

"The club had no option and it has to happen. It's a shame, I wish him the best for wherever he goes.

"I still felt that he had a part to play at United, he wanted to continue his career elsewhere. It's probably the best for both parties."

The Cristiano Ronaldo saga at Manchester United is finally over. The forward's bombshell interview with Piers Morgan always looked likely to hasten his departure from Old Trafford, an event which came to pass on Tuesday. 

In a wide-ranging conversation, Ronaldo told Morgan he had been "betrayed" by senior figures at United and, perhaps most shockingly of all, that he had no respect for manager Erik ten Hag.

Asked if he felt he was being forced out of United, Ronaldo said: "Yes, not only by the coach, but by another two or three guys around the club that I felt betrayed me.

"I shouldn't say that [they were trying to get rid of me], I don't know, but yes, I feel betrayed. I felt that some people didn't want me here not only this year, but last year too."

If Ronaldo's exit was truly desired by the United hierarchy, they got their wish when the mutual termination of his contract was announced on Tuesday. 

How did it get to this point? Let's look back at Ronaldo's tumultuous second spell with the club with whom he made his name.

August 27, 2021: United announce an agreement with Juventus to bring Ronaldo back to Old Trafford, reportedly beating Manchester City to the five-time Ballon d'Or winner's signature. On August 31, a two-year deal with an option for a third season is completed.

September 11, 2021: His second debut sees Ronaldo face Newcastle United at home, and he marks it in style with a brace in a 4-1 win.

September 29, 2021: Champions League history for Ronaldo as he breaks the record for the most appearances (178) in the competition and fittingly scores a last-gasp winner as United beat Villarreal 2-1.

November 21, 2021: Ronaldo continued to score important goals for United in the Champions League, however, a 5-0 home defeat to Liverpool and a 2-0 loss to City piled the pressure on boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. After a 4-1 loss at Watford, the man who brought Ronaldo back to the club is sacked.

November 29, 2021: Ralf Rangnick is appointed as United's interim manager until the end of the season, with the club planning to keep him on for two years in a consultancy role. 

Ronaldo said of Rangnick in his recent interview: "They bring in a sporting director Ralf Rangnick, which is something nobody understands. This guy is not even a coach! A big club like Manchester United bringing in a sporting director surprised not only me but all the world."

December 2, 2021: In Michael Carrick's final game as caretaker manager before Rangnick officially took charge, Ronaldo scored twice in a 3-2 win over Arsenal, netting his 800th and 801st goals in his career for club and country.

February 15, 2022: A goal in a 2-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion ends the longest drought of Ronaldo's career, one that stretched back to a December 30 defeat of Burnley and took in 588 minutes of football.

 

March 12, 2022: Having missed the Manchester derby because of a hamstring injury, Ronaldo scores a hat-trick on his return in a 3-2 win over Tottenham. The treble takes him to 807 goals, past Josef Bican's all-time record of 805. However, the Czech Republic FA claims Bican actually scored 821.

April 16-23, 2022: A hat-trick against Norwich City marks the 50th treble of Ronaldo's career, and he follows that up a week later with his 100th Premier League goal in a loss to Arsenal, which represented an emotional game for the Portugal international after he and his partner announced the death of their baby son.

April 21, 2022: Erik ten Hag is appointed as United's new manager from the 2022-23 season. On May 16, the Dutchman leaves his role at Ajax early to begin preparations for his new job.

May 22, 2022: United's 2021-22 season ends with the Red Devils in sixth, forcing them to settle for Europa League football. Ronaldo does not feature in their 1-0 loss at Crystal Palace, which rounds off a campaign in which he scored 24 goals but never meshed with Rangnick and his style of football.

July 11, 2022: Despite intense speculation around Ronaldo and agent Jorge Mendes trying to force a transfer away from United, Ten Hag insists Ronaldo is "not for sale".

July 31, 2022: Ronaldo leaves early during United's pre-season friendly with Rayo Vallecano, along with some other team-mates. Ten Hag slams that decision as "not acceptable".

October 2, 2022: Ronaldo is left on the bench in the 6-3 loss to City, a game in which United trailed 4-0 at half-time. Ten Hag claims the decision was down to his "respect" for Ronaldo’s career.

October 19, 2022: Having refused to enter the game as a substitute, Ronaldo walks down the tunnel during United's 2-0 win over Tottenham. He is suspended by the club three days later.

November 13, 2022: After missing United's EFL Cup clash with Aston Villa due to an apparent illness, Ronaldo is again absent from their squad for the final game before the World Cup break, a 2-1 win at Fulham. Later that day, the first clips from his bombshell interview are released.

 

November 16-17, 2022: Ronaldo's interview for Piers Morgan uncensored is aired across two days. Alongside his criticism of Ten Hag, Ronaldo declares United's owners the Glazer family "do not care" about the club, hits out at the team's younger players, and says former team-mate-turned-critic Wayne Rooney is jealous of his success.

Former United defender Gary Neville calls for the Red Devils to terminate Ronaldo's contract in the aftermath of his comments.

November 18, 2022: United commit to taking "appropriate steps" in response to Ronaldo's comments, intensifying speculation they could end his stay with the club.

November 21, 2022: As Ronaldo prepares for his fifth World Cup campaign with Portugal, he fields questions about his controversial interview for the first time.

"I don't have to worry what others think. I talk when I want to," Ronaldo told reporters, before describing himself as "bulletproof".

November 22, 2022: Two days before Portugal begin their World Cup campaign against Ghana, United announce Ronaldo is to leave the club with "immediate effect".

"Everyone at Manchester United remains focused on continuing the team's progress under Erik ten Hag and working together to deliver success on the pitch," read a statement from the club.

Cristiano Ronaldo is to leave Manchester United by mutual agreement, the Premier League club have confirmed.

Ronaldo, who is at the World Cup in Qatar with Portugal, caused a stir last week in a wide-ranging interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV, criticising United, senior figures at the club and manager Erik ten Hag.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner said he felt "betrayed" by the Red Devils, claiming they have made "zero progress" since legendary boss Alex Ferguson departed Old Trafford in 2013.

United issued a statement following the explosive interview that said they had "initiated appropriate steps".

The club on Tuesday revealed the 37-year-old has left United for a second time.

A statement on United’s official website read: "Cristiano Ronaldo is to leave Manchester United by mutual agreement, with immediate effect.

"The club thanks him for his immense contribution across two spells at Old Trafford, scoring 145 goals in 346 appearances, and wishes him and his family well for the future.

"Everyone at Manchester United remains focused on continuing the team’s progress under Erik ten Hag and working together to deliver success on the pitch."

Ronaldo first joined United in 2003, going on to score 118 goals in 292 appearances during a glittering six-year spell that saw him become one of the best players in the world.

He returned to Old Trafford in August 2021 after 12 years away from the club at Real Madrid and Juventus.

Ronaldo scored 24 goals in 38 appearances during his first term back, but reportedly asked to leave ahead of the 2022-23 campaign following United's failure to qualify for the Champions League.  

He remained with the Red Devils and was a bit-part player under new boss Ten Hag this season.

Ronaldo made headlines last month when he refused to come on as a substitute in the 2-0 win over Tottenham and headed for the tunnel before the final whistle sounded.

He was suspended by the club for three days following that indiscretion, but did return to the team for four games before the World Cup.

His final game for the club came in a 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa on November 6.

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