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DOHA.- Cristiano Ronaldo has left Manchester United, according to the Premier League club itself, which announced the move on Tuesday “with immediate effect.”

The termination of the 37-year-old Portuguese striker’s contract comes after explosive statements during an interview given a few days before the World Cup, in which the star harshly criticized coach Erik ten Hag and the club’s owners.

It was not immediately clear where Cristiano, who was unable to agree a transfer to a Champions League club in the middle of the year, would go.

“Following discussions with Manchester United we have mutually agreed to terminate our contract early,” Cristiano said. “I love Manchester United and their fans, that will never change.

However, I feel that this is the right time for me to look for a new challenge. “I wish the team every success in the rest of the season and in the future.”

You can read: Cristiano says he has been betrayed by Manchester United

The attacker, who is in Qatar seeking to win Portugal’s first-ever World Cup title, made it clear he wanted a transfer after being left out of the starting squad this season. His wish came true on Tuesday, when the Red Devils announced his departure.

“Cristiano Ronaldo is leaving Manchester United by mutual agreement with immediate effect,” the English team said in a statement.

“The club thanks him for his immense contribution during two spells at Old Trafford, scoring 145 goals in 346 appearances, and wishes him and his family all the best for the future.”

In the statement, United did not express further annoyance at Cristiano’s unauthorized interview with journalist Piers Morgan.

The Portuguese captain said he was “betrayed” in the 90-minute conversation, during which he also criticized the team’s youngest players.

Last week, United announced that they had “undertaken the appropriate steps” in response to Cristiano’s comments. Those steps were expected to include termination of the contract.

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