For the first time in almost two decades, CR7 won’t be in the Champions League.
Nobody would blame Cristiano Ronaldo for walking out of Manchester United this summer.
When the Portuguese re-joined the club last summer, he expected a title challenge from a team that had finished second in the Premier League and reached the Europa League final in the previous campaign.
Instead, Manchester United were out of all the cup competitions by mid-March. Their trophyless streak extended for a fifth campaign. By May, they failed to finish in the Premier League top-four for the fifth time in nine seasons, were demoted to the Europa League, switched managers, and suffered some mind-blowing defeats on the way.
But while there have been rumors of a summer exit, Ronaldo appears set to stay to help the club rebuild and perhaps even play in the Europa League.
🗣 "Ronaldo? Goals." 🤣
Erik ten Hag outlines that Ronaldo is indeed in his future plans for the upcoming season pic.twitter.com/03vxRuQO5o
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) May 24, 2022
Ronaldo’s Europa League Stance
In 2018, Massimiliano Mirabelli, AC Milan’s former sporting director, claimed Ronaldo almost joined the Rossoneri in the summer of 2017 from Real Madrid. He added that the forward was willing to drop down to the Europa League.
“Ronaldo told us: ‘You aren’t in the Champions League, okay, but I have never won the Europa League and so I’ll win that too.’ He was convinced,” Mirabelli said, as quoted on Marca.
“Some say it was a joke, but we had Ronaldo sealed. There was a possibility of getting him, everything is true.”
In the end, the move collapsed. AC Milan’s former Chinese owners considered a deal for Ronaldo not economically doable. The 37-year-old eventually signed for Juventus in 2018, a club he spent three years at before returning to Manchester United last summer.
What is CR7’s record in the Europa League?
Ronaldo last played in the competition in the 2002/03 season under its previous guise, the UEFA Cup.
The forward was only 17 years old at the time when he lined up for Sporting CP in a two-legged first-round clash against Serbian club Partizan.
He provided one assist as Sporting lost 6-4 on aggregate, losing the first leg 3-1 in Lisbon and drawing the return fixture 2-2 in Serbia.