Manchester United could lose nearly £10 million if Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract is terminated.
The 37-year-old has been a bit-part player under Erik ten Hag since allegedly attempting and failing to leave the club over the summer.
Tensions reached a new high in midweek when Ronaldo was benched for United’s win over Tottenham Hotspur and was seen heading down the tunnel before the game ended.
Ten Hag has since confirmed that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner refused to come on as a late substitute, and he was dropped from the squad to face Chelsea in Saturday’s 1-1 draw.
Speculation over Ronaldo’s next career move has intensified following the Tottenham drama, and there is a growing expectation that he will not be at Old Trafford for the 2023-24 season.
Ten Hag has affirmed that he is counting on Ronaldo for the remainder of the season, but a January exit or a departure on a free transfer have unsurprisingly been mooted.
With the Portugal international still under contract until 2023 with the option of an additional 12 months, The Sun claims that Man United would be taking a big financial hit if they terminated his deal.
The report claims that Ronaldo will earn approximately £9.6m in wages if he sees out his contract, and the Red Devils would be required to pay that amount as a severance package.
That figure could also rise based on league placements or trophies won, but there are alternative options for United, who may be able to terminate his deal without paying a penny if his refusal to play against Tottenham was a breach of his contract.
Red Devils chiefs would also supposedly accept a free transfer for Ronaldo if a significantly reduced payoff was included in the move, having relented on their £20m stance from the summer.
While Ronaldo’s options for a move elsewhere seem limited, Chelsea is rumored to be considering a January move for the ex-Real Madrid and Juventus man.
However, now that Graham Potter is in charge, Boehly may try again for Ronaldo, though it is unknown how the current Blues boss would react to the veteran’s signing.
Ronaldo has two goals and one assist in 12 Premier League and Europa League appearances for Manchester United this season, despite playing only 340 minutes of top-flight football.
It is unclear whether Ronaldo will be available for the Red Devils’ Europa League match against Sheriff Tiraspol on Thursday evening at Old Trafford.