CRISTIANO RONALDO has slammed Manchester United for still being stuck in the Fergie era but his exit could finally signal a way out.
The Portuguese superstar, 37, all but ended his second spell at Old Trafford after his bombshell exclusive interview with Piers Morgan in Monday’s Sun.
Ronaldo hit out at United for not moving on from the past, still pining for his former gaffer Sir Alex Ferguson, who retired in 2013.
But even his return from Juventus last year signalled clearly that United were a club with one eye still in the Fergie years, having not won a Premier League crown since the legendary Scot left Old Trafford.
And United great Teddy Sheringham says they must be serious about moving on in order to challenge for the title again.
The Champions League hero also knows they cannot put up with the Ronaldo sideshow if they are to kick on this season.
He told SunSport: “It’s time for him to go. The Fergie years are long gone.
“They’ve got to move on. They’re chasing Manchester City and Liverpool now, that’s the main thing.
“You have got to get on a level with them and disruptions like this don’t make it easy. You want all your players rowing in the same direction.”
Ronaldo’s tirade against United and manager Erik ten Hag, claiming he felt “betrayed”, have left the club with only one option — he CANNOT return.
Sheringham said: “Even the softest manager has got to say now, ‘OK, enough is enough. You don’t respect me. You’re openly saying it. Let’s part ways’.
“I thought he should have gone at the start of the season when he made it quite clear that he wasn’t happy.
“They’ve tried to make it work. It obviously hasn’t worked. His body language is still not great. It’s bad enough when you have an unhappy player, but an unhappy superstar…
“He’s going to rock the boat so let him go and use the money wisely.”
Ronaldo lambasted Dutchman Ten Hag for not showing him respect this season, having blocked a more amicable move away in the summer transfer window.
The No 7 said: “I don’t have respect for him because he doesn’t show respect for me. If you don’t have respect for me, I’m never gonna have respect for you.”
For Sheringham, who made over 150 United appearances under Sir Alex, that was the comment which marked the end.
But the former England striker also feels that respect goes both ways and must be earned through performances, something Ronaldo has not done this season.
Sheringham certainly earned his respect in United’s famous Treble-winning season in 1999.
He came off the bench against Bayern Munich, equalising at the end before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s stunning winner to life the Champions League.
But after notching 18 Prem goals last season, Ronaldo has just one this term, in a 2-1 win at Everton, plus two goals in the Europa League against Sheriff Tiraspol.
Sheringham said: “The disrespect lines that he is coming out with that he doesn’t respect the manager, when he is coming out with that and openly saying that, it’s time for him to go.
“If you are still performing at the highest level then people respect you.
“If you’re doing things in and around the football club that you shouldn’t be, like walking off down the tunnel when you’re part of the team, that is when people lose their respect for you. It works hand-in-hand.”
An exit is the aim for Ronaldo after this near declaration of war on United.
While Ronaldo’s interview will have rocked Ten Hag and the Old Trafford chiefs, it gives them a clear way out of the mess and a chance to start planning for a future where they can never again be accused of being hung up on past glories.
*TEDDY SHERINGHAM will host the first of Budweiser’s official England Watch parties at The Outernet venue in London’s Tottenham Court Road for the Group B opener against Iran on Monday.
For the full list of events and tickets, go to budweiser.co.uk/fifafanfestival