Ronaldo splits with long-time agent  …after disagreement over Piers Morgan interview

Cristiano Ronaldo report­edly split with his long-serv­ing agent Jorge Mendes after a disagreement over his bombshell Piers Morgan interview – which led to his bitter Manchester Unit­ed exit.

The 37-year-old Portugal for­ward was officially unveiled as an Al Nassr player on Tuesday fol­lowing his arrival in Saudi Arabia after he agreed a £175million-a-year contract.

It follows a tumultuous few weeks in which Ronaldo accused United of ‘betraying’ him and took aim at manager Erik ten Hag, who’d dropped him earlier in the season, in the TalkTV interview.

According to Portuguese news outlet Publico, Mendes objected to Ronaldo giving the interview and knew afterwards that any hopes of finding the star another top club in Europe had vanished.

The two decade-long relation­ship between Ronaldo and Mendes had been deteriorating for some time and his personal manager Ricky Regufe negotiated his trans­fer to Al-Nassr.

Publico say that Ronaldo expected offers to roll in from elite European clubs if he performed at the World Cup in Qatar, regardless of the acrimonious nature of his Old Trafford departure.

Mendes thought differently, knowing only Al-Nassr could match Ronaldo’s salary demands. Indeed, he had already got the ball rolling by sounding out the Saudi club’s interest.

When Ronaldo flopped at the World Cup – he was dropped by Portugal coach Fernando Santos for the knockout rounds – this theory was confirmed.

Publico say Ronaldo’s behaviour was a ‘constant source of irritation’ for the Portugal team during the tournament, with his team-mates and the federation “hushing up almost everything.”

At this point, Refuge – who was embedded in the Portugal camp during the World Cup, something which raised eyebrows from other squad members – stepped in to ar­range his move to the Middle East.

Friction quickly emerged between Refuge and Mendes’ company Gestifute. Now Polaris Sport, owned by Gestifute, are no longer responsible for Ronaldo’s image rights.

At his presentation on Tuesday, Ronaldo claimed he was offered ‘many opportunities in Europe and many clubs in Brazil, Australia, USA and even in Portugal’ – but he’d already given his word to Al-Nassr.

Ronaldo was introduced as ‘the world’s greatest footballer’ in front of 25,000 raucous support­ers at Mrsool Park in Riyadh, to a backdrop of fireworks, flares and strobe lighting.

Ronaldo has been criticised for quitting the European game and taking the Saudi money.

But he said: “This contract is unique but I’m a unique player, so for me it’s normal. I really don’t worry about what people say. I am really, really happy to be here. I am so proud to make a big decision in my life. My work in Europe is done. I won everything. I played for the most important clubs.” —MailOnline

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