A leading contract lawyer claims that Manchester United have grounds to terminate Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract following his interview with Piers Morgan, to be aired on Wednesday.
Morgan has already released extracts from the interview, in which Ronaldo said he has “no respect” for manager Erik ten Hag, feels “betrayed” by the club and accused former teammate Wayne Rooney, who has suggested he should be dropped, of being jealous because he is still playing and is better looking than him.
And as we wait for a response from United, whose directors are reportedly meeting manager Erik ten Hag today to discuss next steps, The Mail reports that litigation and Sports Lawyer David Seligman Tweeted that United are within their rights to end the 37 year old’s contract as the interview breaks the rules implied in that contract.
The Mail reports that Seligman’s “now-deleted Tweet read: ‘After that interview, Man United would likely have grounds to terminate Ronaldo’s contract – material breach of the implied duty of trust and confidence as well as express terms regarding bringing club into disrepute.’”
This means that in doing the interview, Ronaldo has broken the trust and confidence of the club and has made damaging accusations about the club.
The terms of his contract forbid him from doing these things, so United have “just cause” to end the contract without having to pay any compensation.
Given that Ronaldo earns £515,000 per week, if United had simply wanted to offload him in January they would have had to pay up the last six months of his deal, some £13 million – plus any penalty severance clause.
But by going public with Morgan, Ronaldo has invalidated the contract himself so United could now release him without it costing them anything.
Seligman also Tweeted that Jorge Mendes, Ronaldo’s agent, could also be penalised and that United have a case for withholding payments due to him.
The terms on which payments are made to Mendes include “maintaining a stable relationship between club and player”, which he has clearly failed to do in this case.
It is unclear how much those payments may have been, but it would certainly seem that if Seligman is correct, both Ronaldo and Mendes have miscalculated badly in going ahead with the interview to try to force a way out of Old Trafford.
Not only does it stand to cost the pair a combined total of at least €15 million, but it has also alienated a large part of the football world and left a huge blemish on the megastar’s previously impeccable reputation.