Manchester United are exploring their legal options as they look to end Cristiano Ronaldo’s time at the club.
It is accepted at United that Ronaldo cannot play for manager Erik ten Hag again following his fierce criticism of the Dutchman in his TalkTV interview.
He has just over seven months remaining on his £500,000-a-week contract.
United could terminate the Portuguese forward’s contract, which would leave him free to sign for another club when the transfer window opens in January.
It is understood they are loath to offer the 37-year-old any kind of pay-off given how strongly they feel about the situation.
The club want the matter dealt with quickly to avoid it spilling over into the second half of the season.
In his interview, Ronaldo said he felt “betrayed by the club” and stated he had “no respect” for Ten Hag, adding he felt he was being forced out of the club.
United responded on Friday with a statement to say they have “initiated appropriate steps” in response.
Ronaldo will captain Portugal at the World Cup in Qatar, with their opening Group H game against Ghana on Thursday.
He has not played because of an unspecified illness since he captained United in their 3-1 defeat at Aston Villa on 6 November
Ronaldo was dropped for the Premier League game at Chelsea last month by Ten Hag after refusing to come on as a substitute against Tottenham three days earlier.
The Red Devils, who beat Fulham 2-1 on Sunday, are fifth in the Premier League in Ten Hag’s first season as manager.