Ronaldo’s explosive interview with Piers Morgan: Man Utd could ‘rip up’ contract, top sport lawyer says
Manchester United are within their right to “rip up the contract” of star forward Cristiano Ronaldo following his explosive interview with Piers Morgan this week.
The comment from the head of Sport at Mishcon de Reya comes after the Portugal forward, considered one of the best players in history, caused shockwaves by saying he feels “betrayed” at the club.
Ronaldo made a number of earth-shattering claims about his club, amid speculation he will never be allowed to play for them again. In the run up to the interview, Ronaldo caused anger after refusing to be substituted on to the pitch, before walking down the tunnel ahead of the the end of the game.
During the interview with Morgan, which will be fully released in two parts this week, the striker said “some people don’t want me here not only this year but last year too”.
He took a shot at the current manager Erik Ten Hag, saying: “I don’t have respect for him because he doesn’t have respect for me” and claims “some people” don’t even want him there.
He also said he was “hurt” by the club’s treatment when his daughter was ill in July.
WIth speculation he wanted out during the summer, Ronaldo’s latest stunt comes ahead of his fifth World Cup, in Qatar, and the January transfer window.
Mishcon de Reya’s Simon Leaf told City A.M. that “given the explosive allegations that have been made against United in Ronaldo’s apparently unauthorised interview with Piers Morgan, it comes as no surprise that the club will be considering its options with its legal team carefully.”
“Not only have serious allegations been made against how the club has handled Ronaldo’s personal issues, which may mean that the club is in breach of its own duty of care to Ronaldo itself, but also the club may itself have a right to terminate Ronaldo’s contract.”
He added that all Premier League stars have the same employment deal with their club, which makes them “comply with and act in accordance with all lawful instructions of any authorised official of the Club” and he is also not allowed to “write or say anything which is likely to bring the Club…into disrepute…or cause damage to the Club”.”
“The same clause goes on to suggest that he would have had to give Manchester United ‘reasonable notice of his intention to make any contributions to the public media’,” which it would appear he did not.
“It would appear that Ronaldo is clearly in breach of his employment agreement, which under its terms, entitles the Club to rip up the contract.”
“However, the club are caught between a rock and a hard place, as this termination right is subject to Ronaldo’s right to appeal – especially as he seems to be suggesting that United are in breach of its own duties to take reasonable steps to protect the health and safety of its employees, which may extend to allowing Ronaldo time off in such difficult circumstances.”
“There is no easy answer to this particular legal wrangle, and, from experience, one suspects, that given the sums involved in terms of wages and a potential transfer fee that may be forgone, both Ronaldo and the club, will now try to resolve the issues as amicably as possible in private with a view to both parties saving face.”
Manchester United issued a statement which it sent to City A.M., saying the it “notes the media coverage regarding an interview by Cristiano Ronaldo.”
“The club will consider its response after the full facts have been established. Our focus remains on preparing for the second half of the season and continuing the momentum, belief and togetherness being built among the players, manager, staff, and fans.”