In preparation for this weekend's Rugby League World Cup match, Manchester United have removed a massive mural depicting Cristiano Ronaldo from the front of Old Trafford. The mural will be replaced with branding for the tournament.
On Wednesday, cranes were present at United's stadium to assist with the removal of the Ronaldo poster from the Old Trafford forecourt. This took place on the same day that the first part of Ronaldo's explosive interview with Piers Morgan was scheduled to be broadcast.
It is believed, however, that the poster was always scheduled to be removed this week, as the stadium will be hosting the final of the Rugby League World Cup for both men and women on Saturday.
The massive space that is located above the megastore on the forecourt will now feature branding in anticipation of that showpiece final. The women's final will take place between Australia and New Zealand at 1.15 p.m., and the men's final will take place between Australia and Samoa at 4 p.m.
After it came to light that Ronaldo had granted Piers Morgan an explosive interview, pictures of the poster of him being torn down attracted a lot of attention. The interview will be broadcast in its entirety on TalkTV on Wednesday night and Thursday night.
The first clips of the interview were shared on social media on Sunday night. In them, Ronaldo is heard accusing the club of "betraying him," and the forward is heard saying that he has no respect for Erik ten Hag. Both of these statements were made by Ronaldo.
The interview was published only a few hours after United had won their final Premier League game of the season, a 2-1 victory over Fulham, before the league's break for the World Cup. Ahead of the beginning of the competition on Sunday, Ronaldo and the rest of Portugal's teammates are currently in Qatar.
On Monday, after the initial clips from the interview were made public, United issued a statement regarding the matter. It stated that Manchester United had taken note of the media coverage regarding an interview given by Cristiano Ronaldo. After gathering all of the relevant information, the club will deliberate over how best to respond.
The second half of the season, as well as continuing to build momentum, belief, and togetherness among the players, manager, staff, and fans, will continue to be our primary focus as we move forward with the rest of the season.
When asked if United were attempting to pressure him out of the club, Ronaldo said in an interview with Piers Morgan Uncensored: "Yes. Not only the club's coach, but also a couple of the other guys who hang around there."
When Ronaldo was asked whether or not they were at the senior executive level, he continued: "Yes. I felt betrayed. To tell you the truth, I really shouldn't say that because I have no idea. But I couldn't care less, everyone needs to pay attention. Not only did I feel like I wasn't wanted here this year, but I also got the impression that some people didn't want me here the year before. I feel betrayed."