A fan favorite after his successful first stint at the club, the 37-year-old’s return to Old Trafford is set to end in a high-profile breakup.
Ronaldo made a variety of snappy comments during an interview with TalkTV, criticizing aspects ranging from manager Erik ten Hag to Glazer family ownership and club infrastructure.
The striker is currently with Portugal preparing for the World Cup and appears to have made his final appearance for United, where his contract runs until the summer.
A club statement read: “Manchester United have taken appropriate action this morning in response to Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent media interview.
“We will not comment further until this process is completed.”
Legal experts have said unauthorized maintenance is likely to constitute a breach of contract, which could give United the option of voiding their contract if they so choose.
The PA news agency understands that the conversations between the club and Ronaldo’s representatives started at the end of his stay at Old Trafford.
A quick and clean result would surely suit everyone given the former Real Madrid player arrives in Qatar later on Friday as Portugal prepare for their run to World Cup glory.
United could move to sack Ronaldo and start a potentially long and ugly legal battle and another option would be to pay him off, which given his exorbitant wages and desire to leave seems unlikely.
Finding common ground is a third option that may work for both parties given that he has made it clear he wants to leave and the club are ready to cut ties.
Ronaldo admitted in the eye-catching interview, which has leaked in recent days, that his future at United is in question.
“It’s hard for me to say I won’t return to Manchester United, but whatever, as you say, let’s see what happens,” he said.
“But, as I told you before, the fans for me will always be by my side, will always be in my heart.”
Additional reports by AP.