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Head of Sport Simon Leaf comments on Ronaldo departure from Manchester United

Posted on 23 November 2022

Football pitch

Simon Leaf has provided his analysis of Cristiano Ronaldo's departure from Manchester United.

The club announced on Tuesday evening that Ronaldo had left the club by mutual agreement, with immediate effect, following a recent interview where he criticised the club's conduct.

Simon commented: "Given the explosive nature of the allegations made against Manchester United, its Directors and Owners by Ronaldo, and equally, the clear breach of contract by Ronaldo that would have potentially entitled Manchester United to terminate Ronaldo's contract for 'gross misconduct', this announcement comes as no surprise to anyone.

From a legal perspective, these kind of early termination arrangements have become increasingly popular in recent years – with a number of high-profile players leaving clubs in this way – and this case, it avoids the need for a protracted and potentially embarrassing appeal process that may have been triggered had United terminated the contract for breach. The key question will be whether the club has agreed to pay Ronaldo an early termination fee in return for him agreeing to depart early and, in return, whether Ronaldo has agreed to cease making any further damaging claims about his experiences.

Ronaldo will now be free to sign for another club and one suspects that given there will be no transfer fee payable to Manchester United, he will be able to command a premium when it comes to his salary demands. Given his commercial appeal, there will be no shortage of interested clubs."

For Manchester United, given Ronaldo's reported large salary, any savings made will potentially give the club more headroom when it comes to its own transfer activities in January, as well as the club's ongoing obligations to comply with important FFP regulations – albeit, there is a danger that the club's own commercial revenues may take a hit from the loss of such a star name."

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