There were huge celebrations amongst Manchester United fans all over the world when it was announced last summer that Ronaldo would be returning to the Theatre of Dreams.
The whole of Manchester had been on the edge of their seats as news coming from the English media claimed that Ronaldo was on his way from Juventus to Manchester City.
United fans were in dismay at the idea of their hero not only returning to English shores, but to play for their arch-rivals no less.
What did United do?
Manchester United legends such as Sir Alex Ferdinand, Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville all got in touch with the Portuguese to convince him to ditch the move to City and return home to United instead. Ronaldo, perhaps looking through a romantic lens, accepted and United fans celebrated as if they had won the Champions League.
It was a horrible season all in all for United, with the sacking of Solskjaer early into the season, only to pass up on Mauricio Pochettino to appoint Lokomotiv Sporting Director, Ralf Rangick. Ronaldo was still United’s top scorer but behind the scenes, he was angry.
Early Problems Were a Sign of What was to Come
He had returned to a United that hadn’t evolved at all since he’d left, he even had to sign up to a prestigious Cheshire gym where he would do extra work as he felt United’s Carrington base was outdated and didn’t have the kind of modern technology, he’d become accustomed to at Madrid and Juventus.
Publicly, Ronaldo remained quiet but in the press, stories were starting to leak. First came the stories of Ronaldo’s apparent unhappiness with Harry Maguire’s captaincy, he wasn’t the first and won’t be the last to question the £80 million pound man.
If anything, he’s been vindicated over the past year. Maguire has seen his stock fall dramatically. If you want to place a bet on how Maguire and England will do at this World Cup, check out this moneyline betting spread.
Chaos at Old Trafford
After Piers Morgan’s recently released interview with the superstar – there are no doubts about how Ronaldo feels. He was disappointed with Solskjaer, he liked him but found him to be tactically lacking at times.
He was angry at the appointment of Rangick, a sporting director from a team in Russia that he felt was not capable of managing a club of Manchester United’s stature. To top it all off, he felt that there were forces within the club that didn’t even want him there to begin with. Suddenly, the dream return was becoming a nightmare.
To the more cynical members of the public, the move to bring Ronaldo back did always seem like more of a case of pride and ego. Important figures at United that were unwilling to see one of their club legends don the Manchester City shirt, they might be wishing they’d left the situation well alone at this point. Despite all the drama and chaos surrounding the side, Ronaldo managed 18 goals, finishing the season as United’s top scorer.
Drama and Bombshells
Summer came round and the Rangick ‘consultancy role’ idea was dropped before it even started, Erik Ten Haag was brought in with the hopes of leading a sporting revolution for the club but found himself having a tough time quickly.
There was a 4-0 drubbing at Brentford where some fans were already calling for his sacking. Ten Haag has echoed statements made by his predecessor Rangick that this side were a long way off competing. Ronaldo had been demoted at Manchester United from a world class superstar to a player that only comes on for five minutes once a game is already decided.
For a sportsman so competitive and so supremely talented, this was never going to bode well. All signs point to Ronaldo being on his way out of Old Trafford before the end of January, it is hard to see how he will go back after his bombshell interview.
Whatever Manchester United fans may try and tell you, there is no way such a legend could ever tarnish his legacy. Over 700 career goals, the most international goals of all time, five Ballon d’Ors, five champions leagues, several Premier League titles, La Liga, Serie A, the Euros – he will be remembered as a Manchester United legend again once the dust has settled. Viva Ronaldo, now and always.