Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United – A Failed Reunion That Must Come To An End

Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United simply have to part ways now.

Cristiano Ronaldo may be off to the World Cup already, but he made sure to have his feelings known about his beloved Manchester United before departing for Qatar. Surely, this has to be the beginning of the end for the superstar at United.

When Sir Alex Ferguson told Ronaldo he should avoid going to Manchester City last year ahead of joining United, surely this isn’t how he thought this would all shake out. Ronaldo lead the Red Devils in scoring last season but had his fair share of tumultuous moments, and now it appears Cristiano Ronaldo’s time at Manchester United apparently can get even worse.

First, let’s go over what transpired in the last 72 hours. Here’s a glimpse of the interview that has the entire world of football talking about the Portuguese superstar:

In an interview with Piers Morgan, Cristiano Ronaldo did not hold back in his thoughts on the state of Manchester United. Some of his claims include:

  • The owners of Manchester United ( The Glazer family) don’t care about the club
  • Ralf Rangnick should never have been able to coach United, as he was just a sporting director at the time of his selection
  • The club hasn’t changed since he left United over a decade ago
    • A lot of the infrastructure remains the same
    • Cites a lack of evolution from United
  • It will be hard for United to be at a top level, competing, in the next 2 to 3 years
  • The owners and “others” are trying to force him out of the club
    • He feels betrayed by the club
  • There is a lack of respect from coach Erik ten Hag for Ronaldo
    • Ronaldo does not respect ten Hag for this same reason

All of this is just from clips released by Piers Morgan, not even the full interview. Once the full 90-minute interview is released to the public, you can be there will be even more drama.

Ten Hag’s Case: 

Now that we’re caught up, let’s look at the ramifications of Ronaldo’s desire to go public with this information. Already, coach Erik ten Hag, who many suspects did not want anything to do with Ronaldo to begin with, now says that “Ronaldo shouldn’t play for Man United again.”

On the one hand, I think Ten Hag has every right to demand this from the higher-ups amongst the club. Ronaldo has already been reprimanded by Ten Hag this season, and this will surely see Ronaldo with more time on the bench before the transfer window opens shortly after the World Cup.

Ten Hag is a coach who values the collective and seemingly has found it hard to integrate Ronaldo, a player who doesn’t fit that bill, into a Manchester United squad in a rebuilding state. Moreover, Ten Hag’s style requires everybody to work hard off the ball after losing possession, something Ronaldo has been hesitant to do with genuine effort.

Above all, Erik Ten Hag has been brought in to do a job, and a tough one at that, to help Manchester United reach the summit of the Premier League once again. However you rate the Eredivisie, Ten Hag is a coveted coach and respected by many in his trade. While he is in charge, his word is final when it comes to lineups, play style, demands on the pitch, and much more. If Ten Hag thinks Ronaldo is not the answer, and by all accounts, he doesn’t seem to be in this team, then he has the right to leave him out of the lineup.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Case: 

Ronaldo has been one of the greatest players this game has ever seen. Putting aside the silly debates about who is the “GOAT”, you simply cannot deny the numbers of Ronaldo’s career. This is a player who has worked his socks off to get to the player he is today, and it has shown, year after year. His status has been well-earned over the years and he should be able to speak his truth, his side of what has been going on since his return to Manchester United.

What he has helped this storied club accomplish over his years at Manchester United, I believe, has earned him this spot at the table, so to speak. Not to mention the fact that if he is indeed not getting the respect he feels he deserves from the manager, he should have the right to say that.

Cristiano Ronaldo also seems to be trying to avoid the fact that he might not be undroppable anymore. That he might not play in every match throughout a season, that he isn’t the first name on the team sheet anymore. What he fails to see, or acknowledge, is that father time is simply undefeated. Even Ronaldo’s physique will fade, as will his ability to petrify defenses ( one could argue this already has faded).

As much as United fans might not be happy about the way their legend went about this, I also feel this is a chance to take this all as a wake-up call for those inside the club. He has now exposed the club in multiple ways, and this could be taken as an opportunity to own up to those claims (if they are true) and get this club back on the right track. Maybe upgrade a facility, or invest in some more updated technology. Whether people believe what he says to be true is a whole other issue.

The verdict

Ronaldo was wrong in the way he went about this but has the right to speak up if he feels his story and his truth need to be heard… after all, there are always two sides to a story. 

Cristiano Ronaldo appears to be driving a wedge between fans (even his Portuguese teammates by the looks of recent videos from Portugal’s training ground), forcing them to choose between Ten Hag or himself, but ultimately it seems like he is making his final play at getting out of Manchester United.

He is forcing the hand of all involved at United, and it looks like, if a suitor can be found, Ronaldo will no longer be a Manchester United player come the end of the transfer window in January.

United has bent the rules for Ronaldo in the past, but after this full interview comes out to the public, a club of United’s size not properly addressing this seems highly unlikely.

I don’t believe the way in which Cristiano Ronaldo has gone about this situation is right, however, there are some undeniable truths to what has been said in the interview so far, that not even the angriest of United fans can neglect. The lack of progress as a club, appointing a sporting director as a head coach, the questionable transfer business, and more.

This is not meant to express that Ronaldo is bigger than United, because no one player is bigger than a club in my eyes, even a player of Ronaldo’s stature.

I understand why Ronaldo is doing this, and see truths and a bigger picture as to what his greater intentions might be with this interview. This is a footballer who has been at the top of this game for many years (sharing the top with Messi) and wants to play football. He might be in denial of a downward trajectory of his career and abilities, believes he deserves to play wherever he goes and doesn’t think he has been given a fair shake at United, but again, has the right to voice his story.

He needs to understand that going forward unless he arrives in the MLS in the future, he will likely have to be a part of a team, where he might not be the centerpiece (even if he is in the media).

Ultimately, however hard it may be in January, he needs to find a new club, because at the moment, all of this surrounding coverage of him over the past 2 seasons seems to be causing more harm than good at Old Trafford.